THE LIDO AND THE ISLANDS

The Lido, an island much loved by poets and writers, with its elegant Liberty villas, the historic village of Malamocco, the 18th century Murazzi and the golden sand beaches, is one of those places where one can still breathe an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Equally picturesque, the nearby island of Pellestrina is a hidden corner of the lagoon, as fascinating as fragile, which requires that all those who land there opt for a slow, careful and non-invasive experience.

 

Beaches and natural areas

The beaches of Lido island, this year awarded with the Blue Flag, are appreciated both by Venetians and foreigners. The gentle slope of the seabed permits younger children to bathe in peace; in addition thanks to the total removal of architectural barriers everyone can enjoy the beach. For lovers of natural and wilder settings, there is the Alberoni Sand Dune Oasis, a unique environment used as stopover and winter habitat for numerous birds, such the Fratino and the Fraticello. At the North end of the island, another treasure of biodiversity is the Nature Reserve of San Nicolò area.

The island of Pellestrina boasts forty hectares of protected natural reserve. Ca’ Roman nature reserve, located at the south, is connected to Pellestrina by the artificial Murazzi dam: this reserve still preserves one of the most unspoilt habitat in the whole upper Adriatic area.


The Cycle Route of the islands

The best way to discover these two islands is with an easy and pleasant ride along the Ciclovia delle isole E5. Starting from the Lido you cross the island arriving to Malamocco (on crowded days the internal road route is preferable). Once at Alberoni, take ferry line 11 towards Santa Maria del Mare, at the eastern end of the North of Pellestrina. From here, continuing further south, you cross the villages of San Pietro in Volta and Portosecco.

To protect its extraordinary habitat, the Ca’ Roman reserve is not suitable for cycling. Before arriving at Caroman (Pellestrina Cimitero stop), you can take the vaporetto line 11 towards Chioggia (around 30 minutes). The number of bicycles allowed on board is at the discretion of the captain, for reasons of passenger safety. On Saturdays and holidays, until October 27th 2019, the line 11 service on the Chioggia – Pellestrina section is reinforced with dedicated rides for cyclists. Please note that only passengers and not cycles and motorcycles can be landed or loaded on Ca’ Roman.


Travel tips

To rent a bike, there are several shops on the Lido island that offer daily rates; moreover the public bike sharing service, VeNice in Bike, is available.

REDENTORE FEST 20th JULY 2019

July is a very special month for Venetians and the reason is quickly revealed: the Festa del Redentore (Feast of the Redeemer) – the most heartfelt of traditional festivals, celebrated on the third Sunday of July on Giudecca island – is coming. This tradition, combining religion with entertainment in a mix of sacred and profane, has existed for almost five centuries and is lived with great participation by Venetians, who await the eve of the party – the notte famosissima – to decorate the boats with lights and colorful festoons and reach St. Mark’s basin, where they have dinner together and watch the firework show until midnight.
On Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st July, the festival will celebrate the liberation of Venice from the great plague of 1575-1577 with the setting up of the spectacular votive bridge that connects Fondamenta delle Zattere to the Church of the Redentore on the Giudecca island. The party continues on Sunday with the Redentore’s Regattas – fierce rowing competitions on traditional boats along the Giudecca Canal – and the Votive Mass at the Church of the Redentore.

The whole Venetian summer is full of events, as every island in the lagoon revives its local traditions. The appearance of the Virgin Mary – who saved Venice from the Turks – on the island of Pellestrina in 1716, is still celebrated today from 28th July to 4th August with the pilgrimage to the sanctuary and with rowing regattas, concerts, dancing and fireworks, as well as with open air tables where typical dishes such as pasta with peòci (mussels) and other fish specialties are served.
Another popular summer festival is the Sagra di Santo Stefano in Portosecco, which takes place in a small village on the island of Pellestrina from 10th to 18th August and is a good occasion to discover unusual places in the lagoon, both for Venetians and visitors. During the festival, also the islanders take part to the religious procession accompanied by the musical band, and then enjoy regattas, live music and local food, including the renowned spaghetti with peòci, the peòci saltai, the sardines in saòr, and the fried seafood.

How gondolas are born: a journey to discover traditional Venetian craftsmanship

The gondola is the Venetian boat par excellence. Famous all over the world for the elegance with which it glides along the canals, this wooden boat driven by a single oar has been around since the time of the Serenissima. 11 meters long, 1.40 wide and composed of 280 parts, the gondola has undergone numerous transformations over the centuries. In the past it was surmounted by a cabin called felze, which gave passengers privacy and shelter from bad weather. The gondola, as well as its iron bow, had a different shape in the past. What we see today is therefore the result of centuries of improvement by numerous specialized craftsmen, who have worked to create the “gondola system” for generations.

The art of making gondolas

The wooden structure of the gondola is built in the squèri, – small boatyards on the canals – by the squerarióli, expert craftsmen who shape the structure of the gondola by combining handicraft and skillful use of the fire.

Then, in their workshops the remèri sculpt custom-made wooden oars and oarlocks – called forcole – based on the weight and height of the gondolier, while the fravi forge the steel parts of the boat, especially the famous fèro da próva – the iron bow – whose shape has been object of numerous symbolic interpretations over the years.

The cushions of the gondolas are sewed by tapessièri, while for the ornaments and decorations different masters get to work: the fondidóri work the metal for the creation of horses and other ornaments, the intagiadóri carve the wood of the sculpted superstructures, while the battiloro and indoradóri transform gold into very thin leaves then applied as ornaments.

Finally, it must not be forgotten that even the uniform of the gondolier requires specific mastery: the sartóri sew gondoliers’ clothing, the baretèri make summer and winter hats for them, while caleghèri take care of their shoes.
If you are curious to learn more about these ancient crafts, the association “El Felze”, gathering the artisans who contribute to the creation of the gondola, and all the Venetian licensed guides (AGT Venezia – Tourist Guide Association of Venice: agtvenezia@gmail.com; Coordination of tourist guides of Venice: guide.turistiche.venezia@gmail.com; Cooperative licensed tourist guides of Venice: guide@guidevenezia.it) propose different itineraries to discover traditional shops.

The Madonna di Marina Festival in the ancient village of Malamocco from 7th to 14th July 2019

Malamocco, at the southern end of the Lido island, was the first ancient nucleus of Venice, capital of the Venetian Dogado between 742 and 811, until it was decided to move its headquarters in Rialto. In the rooms of the first residence of the Podestà or Magistrate, today there is a permanent exhibition of archaeological finds discovered in the local area. The museum is open from Friday to Sunday, to book a visit – that also includes a tour of the ancient village – please contact (0039) 347 4144035.

Having a walk around is like taking a dip in the past: calli, campi and small squares have remained those of the past, as have the festivals and popular traditions, still very appreciated by the locals.

The Feast of Madonna di Marina is a typical local festival celebrated every year in July, this year from 7 to 14 July. Its origins date back to the 14th century, when according to the legend the Virgin Mary appeared to a inhabitant of Malamocco who was collecting wood along the beach.

The celebrations last almost a week, during which, besides the events tied to the religious tradition, there are also concerts, dances, markets and handicraft exhibitions; the celebrations are concluded by the fireworks display and the final tombola (bingo).

From the Lido, you can reach Malamocco by bus (line A), by car (via the Actv ferry boat line 17 Tronchetto-Lido, San Nicolò-Punta Sabbioni) or by bicycle (you can rent one at the Lido or carry your own bike by the Actv ferry boat).

From Chioggia, you can get to Malamocco by the Actv waterbus line 11.

Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics and Ascension Day 31st May – 2nd June

For more than a thousand years, Venice has been celebrating the Fèsta de la Sènsa (which means “Ascension Day” in Venetian dialect), one of the oldest historical re-enactments, which relives the intimate relationship between the city and the Sea and the practice of the Venetian rowing. On the day of the Sensa, Sunday 2nd June, the Marriage of the sea is celebrated, in memory of the conquest of the Dalmatia by the Venetian ships headed by the doge Pietro Orseolo II in 999. Every year the Doge, on the state boat called the Bucintoro, blessed the sea by throwing a gold ring into the water.


This year the Fèsta de la Sènsa will be even more special because on the same days there will also be the 64th edition of the Ancient Maritime Republics Regatta, established in 1955 with the aim of recalling the exploits and rivalries of the most famous Italian Maritime Republics, namely Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa and Venice. The regatta consists of a two kilometers long route competition between boats in which four rowing teams, representing each one of the Republics, challenge each other. The program includes three days of celebrations, which will culminate, on Saturday 1st June, with the ceremony of the Adriatic Twinning of the Fèsta de la Sènsa with the cities of the Maritime Republics and the Galleons Regatta and, on Sunday 2nd June, with the Sensa’s water parade and the ceremony of Marriage of Venice with the sea.


On Sunday 2nd June, if you are in St Mark’s square, don’t miss a unique show and look up at the Clock Tower: only twice a year, on the day of the Sensa and of the Epiphany, at the stroke of every hour the wooden figures of an Angel with a trumpet and of the three Wise Men come out of the lodge of the second floor and parade in procession in front of the statue of the Madonna.


Did you know? La Fenice Opera House was inaugureted on Ascension day, on 16th of May 1792. In the nineteenth century, the theatre staged the world premieres of numerous operas of Gioachino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti and Giuseppe Verdi. If you are visiting Venice, La Fenice Opera House is definitely a must see for making your stay in Venice unique!