The island of Pellestrina is closer to Chioggia than to Venice itself. It is one of the few parts of the city where you can go by bicycle. Attractions include the great wall along the beach and the Ca’ Roman Nature Reserve.
Pellestrina island Venice
History and description
The island of Pellestrina consists of the villages of San Pietro in Volta, Portosecco and the town of Pellestrina itself. It is 11 kilometers long and, even at its widest point, no more than 1.2 kilometers wide.
The history of the island starts in the 14th century, during the War of Chioggia. After this war, all the settlements on the island had to be rebuilt. Four noble families from Chioggia were commissioned to do so. The names of these families, which are still the most common names on the island, are now used for the districts of the city of Pellestrina: Vianello, Busetto, Zennaro and Scarpa.
Tourist attractions Pellestrina island
The island is characterized by a large number of churches, palaces and houses from the 16th century. The houses on Pellestrina are all painted in different colors, a bit like the more famous Burano.
When you arrive on the island you will be in Santa Maria del Mare. From here you will go to San Pietro in Volta. This village is characterized by low houses with vegetable gardens and an 18th century church.
Portosecco, a village famous for the quality of its lace, is located a little further south.
Pellestrina is a picturesque village with 16th and 17th century houses.
The eastern side of the island is fortified by dikes made of large blocks of Istrian limestone. These Murazzi were built by the Venetian Republic in the 18th century to withstand sea storms. They are about 10 kilometers long and thus take up almost the entire length of the island.
The history of the walls, including the great flood of 1966, is highlighted in the Museum of the Southern Lagoon.
Ca’ Roman Natuurreservaat
The Ca’ Roman Nature Reserve is located on the far south side of the island. Dunes separate the wild beach here from a forest that is home to several protected species of birds. A path through this forest ends at the lighthouse, from where you can see Chioggia.
Madonna dell’Apparizione (august 4th)
The “Our Lady of the Apparition” Festival takes place at the Madonna dell’Apparizione Church in the town of Pellestrina. On August 4, 1716, the Madonna appeared to the little boy Natalino Scarpa dei Mutti and told him that the Christians were going to defeat the Turks. Every year on this date there is a village festival commemorating the event. There are rowing regattas, folk dances, and plenty of food.
Santo Stefano Festival (august 15th)
The Santo Stefano Festival in honor of the patron saint of Portosecco takes place in mid-August. It ends on August 15, when a wooden statue of the saint is carried in a procession through the streets of the city. Again, plenty of local goodies are eaten between the rowing races and other games.
How to get to Pellestrina
Pellestrina can be reached by the vaporetto lines 1 and 5.2. Furthermore, it is one of the few places in Venice where a bus also runs (line 11). There is a direct boat connection from Chioggia.