In addition to its gorgeous, golden beaches, Caorle offers much more: it is a special place with so many sites of historical, cultural and natural interest… But it also offers plenty of opportunities to relax and have fun!
An island that stretches out in length and starts from the Casoni, the ancient, characteristic dwellings of the lagoon fishermen, crosses the wide Levante beach to the Sanctuary of the Madonnina dell’Angelo, flies over the roofs of the coloured houses of the historic centre and heads towards the lighthouse crossing the Ponente beach, where the river draws the boundaries with its rocks and the swans that inhabit it and give it a unique and magical appearance.
The historic centre of Caorle is cut in two lengthwise by Rio Terrà delle Botteghe and Calle lunga, around which wind dozens of narrow streets called calli, which open onto campi and campielli and on which stand the colourful houses of the inhabitants: walking through the centre of Caorle, you will feel as if you are in Venice or on one of its characteristic lagoon islands. The atmosphere you breathe as you wander through these narrow streets is unique in every season: from the windows you can see fragments of everyday life, kitchens full of fragrances, the dialectal chatter and fishing nets hanging outside the door. You can marvel at the painting workshops where skilful hands caress the canvas with the colours of the sea.
For those who want to satisfy the palate, there are plenty of restaurants offering typical local cuisine, whether traditional taverns, pizzerias or modern bistros, in all cases fresh fish is the absolute protagonist and is exalted with skill, natural aromas and lots of taste. To see with your own eyes where the raw material comes from, you can go to the harbour, where the fishing boats leave early in the morning and return in the evening. The fish is sold at the municipal market by ear auction: each buyer whispers a price into the seller’s ear and the highest bidder gets the lot. At anchor for many months of the year you can also admire the Caorlina, the traditional wooden boat decorated with dolphins, fishermen and the Angel Michael, 25 m long with room for 24 rowers, which was on display during the historic regata in Venice.
Caorle also has much to offer from a historical point of view: right in the centre, just a stone’s throw from the sea, stands the ancient Cathedral of Santo Stefano and next to it its distinctive cylindrical bell tower, both in Romanesque style. The construction of the cathedral dates back to 1038, when it was built on top of a previous basilica that was destroyed, while the bell tower dates back to 1100 in the form currently visible, or to 900 A.D. in an earlier version with a different function (it is thought to have been a watchtower over the sea): the base in lighter-coloured Istrian stone is in fact visible compared to the rest of the structure; the peculiarity of the bell tower is above all its cone-shaped cupid, rare among medieval buildings of this type.
Also not to be missed is the Duomo Museum, where you will find artefacts dating back to the early Christian era recovered from the church that stood where the Duomo is now built; there are also relics, sacred vestments and some objects made by Venetian goldsmiths.
In addition to sacred art, sea archaeology enthusiasts will also find what they are looking for in Caorle: the National Museum of Sea Archaeology at the entrance to the town which holds prehistoric artefacts, Roman and mediaeval, discovered in Caorle or submerged in the sea bed (amphorae, vases, coins, stone artefacts, etc). A screen also shows a video shot at the bottom of Caorle where an ancient Roman ship sank.
In front of the cathedral square there is a wonderful and unique promenade along the sea behind a cliff called “Scogliera Viva” (Living Cliff): an open-air work of art composed of Euganean trachyte boulders sculpted by international artists with the most diverse themes, from mythology to love, from the natural and animal world to the metaphysical one, from life to man’s inner life.
At the end of the cliff there is the Sanctuary of the Madonna dell’Angelo, one of the dearest buildings to the people of Caorle because of their deep Marian devotion: a small church overlooking the sea, built in June 1751 on the ruins of an old church, now worn down by time and the force of the sea. Inside this “jewel” is the statue of the Madonna dell’Angelo, the effigy to which the fishermen of Caorle would turn before a fishing trip at sea or in the lagoon. There are ancient stories of miracles and devotion that accompany the cult of the Madonna dell’Angelo and that still reverberate today: every five years in September, to celebrate an ancient vow, there is the traditional procession at sea with a procession of fishing boats, while every year, on the second weekend in July, Caorle celebrates the annual feast of the Madonna dell’Angelo with two processions greeted by the now traditional and spectacular “Incendio del Campanile” (the burning of the bell tower) of the Cathedral, with fireworks.
For more than twenty years in September, a splendid event dedicated to street artists and theatre has been held in the historic centre: “Luna nel pozzo” (Moon in the Well). Every evening the squares of the centre host a rich programme of actors, jugglers and clowns who will entertain the whole family. Each year all the shows are linked by a common thread that accompanies spectators throughout these magical days.
It would take many days to discover all the secrets hidden in the historic centre of Caorle, between its walls, its churches and its streets. From the Caorle.it portal you can create your own tailor-made holiday package: hotels, flats, villages, boat trips, gyms, waterparks, babyparking, sailing cruises, winery visits, restaurants and much more. Book it now with a simple click!