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Grado's Lagoon -- so far from the fast paced world of today - a good 8800 hectares of unpolluted nature, is certainly easy to fall in love with at first sight. One is able to explore its natural beauty in many different ways such as using a boat or rubber dinghy, navigating from one islet to another to discover the cane covered characteristic "casoni" and remains of ancient churches, or pedalling a mountain bike along paths that skirt the lagoon fish hatcheries.

The Grado Lagoon is an integral part of the Regional Natural Reserve at the mouth of the Isonzo, sponsored by the WWF. One particularly nice spot, the Valle Cavanata, was declared a "wet area of international value" in the Ramsar Treaty of 1978 and is still completely intact thanks to the banks around its boundary that enclose and protect it.

There are some significant repopulating and reintroduction programmes going on inside this area regarding the wild goose and the royal swan while in the whole lagoon area of Fossalon di Grado, many different species of birds nest, among which are the very rare goldeneyes, common eiders, velvet and common scoters.


Valli da pescaThe Grado Lagoon is also rich with “Valleys of Fish” (fish beds) which continue to function; this ancient system of valley farming is seen by outsiders as a sort of factory where fish come to grow until the moment of sale.

These fish valleys are a collection of bodies of water and canals regulated by closures so as to maintain the optimal level of water for the development of the fish. It is practically made of large pools connected semi-naturally used for the raising of the “avanotti”, that is, high quality fish, placed in this natural environment with only a few days of life and followed carefully until the moment when they are mature and able to be sold.

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On the little isles of the lagoon, the fishermen used to live in the "casoni" – small houses constructed of straw. These houses serve as the symbol of the Lagoon and still house several of Grado’s inhabitants, who still live by fishing. Some of them have been transformed into rustic trattorias and during summer offer good fish dishes with polenta and wine from Friuli.

The “casoni” which typically have pointed roofs, with a rectangular plan and a pyramid-shaped straw roof, have been built using the rare materials that can be found here: poles, reeds, straw and wicker. Inside these houses, there is only one big room with a fireplace, and a westward facing door which serves to protect the house from the cold eastern winds.

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birdwatchingTo birdwatching enthusiasts, Grado dedicates one part of its laggoon (the eastern part) to the Natural Reserve of the outlet of Isonzo, the “Caneo” natural area and the Natural Reserve of Val Cavanata.

To birdwatching enthusiasts, Grado dedicates one part of its laggoon (the eastern part) to the Natural Reserve of the outlet of Isonzo, the “Caneo” natural area and the Natural Reserve of Val Cavanata. The realization of these areas was notably enhanced by the already high levels of biological diversity present in this area of the lagoon, with the presence of numerous botanical and animal species, among which the birds particularly stand out, since nearly 300 various species have been observed. Among the numerous species, one thinks of for example the Spatola, the Gru Cenerina, the red heron, the Mignattaio, the Cavaliere d’Italia, the Tarabuso and the wetlands hawk… all of which are rather rare.

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laguna di GradoGrado's Lagoon - so far from the today’s chaotic world, a good 8800 hectares of unpolluted nature to fall in love with at first sight and to explore in many different ways: using a boat or rubber dinghy, navigating from one islet to another to discover the cane covered characteristic "casoni" and remains of antique churches, or on a mountain bike, pedalling along paths that skirt the lagoon fish hatcheries.

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