Caorle is yet another coastal town, this time located in the province of Venice, in Italy, just between the Livenza and Lemene rivers, nestled between two more tourist towns: Eraclea and Bibione. Caorle used to be known as Caprulae, possibly in honour of the pagan goddess Capris and was founded in the 1st century BC, by the Romans.
In its founding years, plenty of development took place, as refugees from the Barbarian invasions came to settle in Caorle, including a Paleo-Christian church, the Caorle cathedral and more. In the centuries that followed, Caorle became one of the nine important cities of the Republic of Venice, but it eventually went into decline, as the last diocesan bishop of the diocese was moved in 1807 to Chioggia and the territory of the diocese was attached in 1818 to the Patriarchate of Venice.
Nonetheless, Caorle still continues to showcase plenty of the history that made it famous in the first place and, looking around, you’ll be floored by its history and gorgeous Venetian infrastructure. Read on to discover the best things to do in this beautiful city, to be sure that you’re getting the best out of your trip.
1. Santuario della Madonna dell'Angelo
According to legend, the Sanctuary of the Madonna dell'Angelo was built around the 6th century by the inhabitants of Concordia Sagittaria, refugees from the barbarian invasions. Legend also states that some fishermen saw a wooden statue depicting the Madonna floating on the sea, supported by a very heavy marble block and the fishermen’s efforts to carry it to the shore were fruitless. Only a group of children, with the innocent and delicate touch of their hands, succeeded in doing this. Following this prodigious event, the islanders decided to dedicate the church to the Blessed Virgin - hence the name of Our Lady of the Angel.
Again in 1727, the Sanctuary became the site of another miracle. When Caorle was hit by a terrible flood, the church continued to remain fully intact, and this event is remembered by two marble crosses at the sides of the portal, indicating the level reached by the sea water. Today, the Sanctuary of the Madonna dell'Angelo sits on the eastern end of the Caorle cliff, in picture perfect position, overlooking the sea and it is a magical place to stop to contemplate the vivid sunsets. Unfortunately, battered by both wind and sea, the church suffered considerable damage and has had to undergo several reconstructions and numerous changes, over the centuries.
Within the church itself, you can find a gorgeous frescoed ceiling, with decorative motifs and sacred subjects inscribed on it, as well as ancient prayers on the walls, which you can read. The church also houses countless memorabilia, from the Altar Maggiore and the tabernacle where the statue of the Virgin is housed to the sculptures of San Gilberto and Santa Margherita and the marble altar dedicated to St. Pius. And, in the chapel on the side, you can even check out the legendary “Cockpit”, where, according to tradition, the Virgin’s simulacrum was found floating on the sea. Do also look out for the 13th-century bell tower, just beside the Sanctuary, which doubles as a lighthouse in the small port near the church, now since abandoned. However, the great light emitted by the powerful lamp continues to illuminate the waters in front, signalling arrivals in the Caorle Sea and, romantically, greeting Our Lady of the Angel.
Santuario della Madonna dell'Angelo
Address: Viale Madonna dell'Angelo, 12, 30021 Caorle VE, Italy
2. Levante Beach
Caorle is famed for its long sandy beaches, stretching for miles at a time, with both private and public beaches. It is here that tourists can enjoy swimming in a clean, clear and warm sea, relaxing and sunbathing on the golden sand. It’s also an ideal hangout for families, as certain areas of the beach offer children’s animation and entertainment, so there’s plenty of fun in the sun for everyone at Levante Beach!
Address: Lungomare Trieste, 30021, Caorle, Italy
Website: Levante Beach
3. Duomo Santo Stefano
The Cathedral of Caorle, a cathedral church until 1819, was built in 1038, above the ruins of a previous Early Christian Basilica. Also a product of refugees from the Barbarian Invasion, this was building that used to represent plenty of strife and conflict and now, after countless arguments and religious difficulties, it sits as a stark reminder of Caorle’s history and remains one of the bigger structures in the town.
Duomo Santo Stefano
Address: Piazza Vescovado 6, 30021, Caorle, Italy
Website: Duomo Santo Stefano (in Italian)
4. Scogliera Viva
When visiting Caorle, you will go nowhere else than the Carole cliffs for a first view of the natural sights. From the cliffs, you can see the old town and the sea in the same frame, an impressive view that lets you take in all of Caorle, in one go. Scogliero Viva is where the magic happens, and it is where, in 1992, Treviso sculptor Sergio Longo decided to carve images of Neptune and nymphs into the cliffside, to further raise interest in the area. This lead Caorle and Longo to create the International “Scogliera Viva” Award, a symposium of sculpture, in which numerous internationally renowned sculptors participate, through the years.
Today the cliff remains one of Italy’s most famous natural sites and you too will find yourself falling in love with the mix of man-made and natural art, found here.
Address: Lungomare Petronia, 30021, Caorle, Italy
Website: Scogliera Viva (in Italian)
5. Valle Vecchia
Valle Vecchia is one of the smaller beaches, located along the coast between the urban centres of Caorle and Bibione. Characterized as a non-urban coastal site, there have been heavy reclamation actions over the last 50 years, but it has since remained as a place of important naturalistic and environmental value. This is especially so for the area’s archival efforts to maintain its store of sandstone and pinewood and as being one of the largest dune system coasts of Veneto.
Due to the presence of this particular habitat, Valle Vecchia has been recognized by the European community as a Special Protection Zone and a Site of Community Importance. Check it out to see the reserves!
Address: Localita Brussa, 30021, Caorle, Italy
Website: Valle Vecchia (in Italian)
6. Luna Park
If you’ve got a family in tow, check out Luna Park in Caorle for a fun time out, where you can play on rides and relax. On Wednesdays, the park even offers 50 percent off, plus it’s a park with no queues, nice music playing everywhere and a chill environment. It’s a must see if you have young ones getting restless.
Address: Viale Aldo Moro, 30021, Caorle, Italy
Website: Luna Park (in Italian)
7. I Casoni di Caorle
A Casoni is a typical fisherman’s house and at I Casoni di Caorle, you can head on down to the Caorle lagoon to see these houses for yourself and educate yourself on their history and the fishermen’s way of life. Still standing, 15 centuries on from the Barbarian Invasion, these houses were the main source of refuge for fleeing families fearing bombings, and it eventually turned into a fishing village, later on abandoned by the youth as economic prospects improved.
One wonders if there ever will be a revival of the fishing tradition of Caorle but for now, the Casoni represents the memories of lives full of sacrifice and a testament to the history of Caorle’s ancestors, who were able to lead with courage and simplicity.
I Casoni di Caorle
Address: Via dei Casoni, 30021 Caorle VE, Italy
Website: I Casoni di Caorle (in Italian)
8. Aquafollie Waterpark
For all your Waterpark needs, head on down to Aquafollie, to check out the rides and cool off! With six medium-sized slides, a pool and several smaller water games, it may not be the biggest park, but it is pleasant and in perfectly good condition.
Address: Viale Aldo Moro 1, 30021, Caorle, Italy
Website: Aquafollie Waterpark (in Italian)
Be charmed by Caorle
Despite its turbulent past, Caorle has since transformed and moved on, with little to remind others of the place it once was. Yet, its eternal sights, from the Sanctuary of Madonna dell'Angelo to the Casonis are a stark reminder of Italy’s past and remain simply as tourist sights, where you can come by to admire their beauty while appreciating their history.
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