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Caorle and its small hamlets to discover
Explore our holiday centre in Caorle and visit the most beautiful and interesting places in and around Veneto!
Caorle is a picturesque town, best known for its small hamlets dotting the coastline. These unique and special villages are a perfect destination for visitors wishing to explore the area.
During your holiday at the San Francesco Village, you can visit the surrounding hinterland of Caorle and discover the true history of Caorle and its surroundings.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN CAORLE
Caorle, between present, past and future
Once upon a time there was Caorle, a small village of fishermen, who lived by going fishing with their small boats in the lagoon:an immense lagoon that extended more than twenty kilometres inland.
The lagoon was rich in fish, and the fishermen had never worried about venturing out into the open sea, braving the dangerous waves and swells.
Moreover, there were no dangers in the wide lagoon, no one lived there, apart from a few Roman centuria that perhaps hosted legionaries of Rome in the first or second century, presumably for a rather short time.
Then larger boats arrived and forced the fishermen out into the open sea also because the lagoon was beginning to be reclaimed, following intense pressure from the Serenissima Republic, and the fishing waters began to decrease.
Thus, villages began to spring up on the land stolen from the water, populated no longer by fishermen but by lively farmers.
HAMLETS TO BE DISCOVERED
From the hamlet of Brian to the village of Ca’ Corniani
Today, tourists who come to Caorle and live here for a while are familiar with the coastal area, but we would like to propose an interesting itinerary that takes you inland, where time has stood still a few centuries ago.
We would like to set off on a little journey that can be done by car or by bike, from the coastal road (SP 54) which, at Altanea, turns at a roundabout towards Brian (a couple of kilometres away), a small agricultural centre that preserves, on the canal of the same name, the “porte vinciane” (mitre gates), an ancient and ingenious system useful for managing the flow of water from the canal towards the sea.
At low tide, the water flowed freely all the way to the Adriatic sea, while when the tide rose, the gates pushed by the opposing current closed automatically, preventing brackish water harmful to crops from flowing in.
THE SMALLEST HAMLET OF CAORLE
From here you can reach Ca’ Corniani, an ancient rural hamlet that once belonged to the noble Venetian Corniani family, and is now owned by Assicurazioni Generali. Until 1800, when the great reclamation works began, this was a lagoon area.
With the draining of the land and the construction of canals, the land became cultivable and the village was populated by hundreds of farmers. The large manor house, next to the large farmyard, and the tiny inner village represent the most significant traces of peasant life in the Veneto countryside: a place worth visiting.
Here you can still see the old building that housed the wine cellar, and near it the start of the long cycling path leading to Ca’ Cottoni.
MOVING UP THE RIVER LIVENZA
From Ca’ Cottoni to “Villa dei dogi”
To get to Ca’ Cottoni, simply drive up the Livenza river on the neighbouring roads.
In this small village, very similar to Ca’ Corniani, you can admire the church dating back to 1720 and enlarged in 1869 with the addition of the two side aisles, a clear sign that the population was growing. Next to the church is the manor house.
The village develops along the course of the Livenza River, which can be followed until reaching the La Salute bridge, which crosses the river. From here you return towards Caorle, still following the riverside roads but on the opposite bank. At the end of the road you will find yourself at Ottava Presa, in front of the large 18th-century Villa, built by the Marquises Concina from Friuli as a business centre for the management of the boundless agricultural lands lying all around.
Today the building, named “Villa dei Dogi”, is dedicated to tourist accommodation.
A JUMP INTO HISTORY
The rural village of San Gaetano
We cross the road (SP 59) and head towards San Gaetano.
Travelling along this part of the road immersed in the countryside and observing the land, today cultivated in an exemplary manner, it is easy to imagine the work of the people of a century ago, deprived of all mechanical means, where everything had to be done by hand and the children, even from early childhood, represented an indispensable workforce for the sustenance of the families.
Today, the village is reduced to a few hardy families who find no motivation to move to live in the city. In the centre of the village is the large manor house of the Franchetti Barons, the first reclaimers of these lands bordering the lagoon of Caorle. The villa is decadent, left to gradually decay, like the village, but abundant pages of local history have been written here, from the 19th century to the present day.
HOME OF THE FRANCHETTI BARONS
San Gaetano Estate
The reclamation of San Gaetano was initiated by Baron Raimondo Franchetti, who had married Luisa Rothschild, a rich German heiress who, it is said, contributed financially to the works desired by her husband.
In the spacious San Gaetano estate, the Franchetti family, for generations, organised many events, especially hunting and fishing in the neighbouring lagoon, inviting friends and acquaintances, not only from the Veneto region.
The most famous of the guests was certainly the American writer Hernest Hemingway, who was often a guest in the Venetian home of the Franchetti family and came several times to San Gaetano where, it is widely believed, he began to write the first pages of his book “Across the River and Into the Trees”.
The book begins with a description of the lagoon in winter, with the boatman breaking the ice with his oar in order to be able to sail; a narrative that can only be done by a great writer and one who has experienced it directly.
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