The town of Caorle lies northeast of the Venice lagoon on the river Livenza about 50 kilometres away from Venice. Further northeast are the nature reserve and the Laguna di Caorle that features its casoni. These are (or were) fishermen's houses constructed from reeds, now a tourist attraction, that were mentioned in one of Ernest Hemmingway's books. The reserve and the casoni are important attractions and, with a boat ride to visit them, make for a nice day out.
Caorle was, and to a lesser extent still is a fishing port but in recent years it has gained popularity as a holiday resort. A considerable stretch of coastline northeast of Venice is prime holiday paradise, and has been for decades.
I first visited the area with my family close to 50 years ago when, even then, the beaches were filled to capacity. In the intervening years much has been done to improve the infrastucture to attract visitors. I have visited the area several times in recent years most recently in August this year for a family reunion.
The colourful centre of town has a pedestrian thoroughfare, the Lungomare, that is lined with clothes and tourist shops, bars and cafes, and restaurants. Local seafood features in most restaurants but there is also a Chinese restaurant, tucked behind the tower, and of course restaurants serving pasta or pizza.
What to do in Caorle
The beaches are well kept and clean. All are managed under license from the local government which means that it is necessary to pay to use the facilities (beds, umbrellas, toilets and showers). Restaurants, coffee shops and ice cream bars are plentiful so when it gets too hot its easy to find a place in which to break the monotony of sunbathing, swimming or water sports!
Running parallel to the beach is a promenade that runs for miles. It’s a pleasant walks, though can be hot in the midday sun, but great for early morning or late evening walks.
One stretch of the promenade, near the historic centre of Caorle, has a rocky breakwater next to it. Some of the rocks at the top have been carved, part of a competition organised by the Prefecture in the 1980's.
Jutting out from a natural bay, sitting on and protected by the breakwater, is the Sanctuary of the Madonna dell'Angelo, an important feature of Caorle. It is a small church with a bell tower next to it.
Near the carved rocks in the centre of the town is the Duomo di Santo Stefano and the bell tower which is open to the public to climb up for a small fee The remains of a painted wall dating to the time of the Romans are around the corner, just off the square facing the promenade (under the tiled roof at the back of the lawned area).
Views from Rio Terra and calles
From there Lungomare takes one back, south-westwards, parallel to the sea. Shops call for attention. The buildings are colourfully painted making the area attractive even on grey days.
A block or two inland is the port which sits on a canal that joins the river Livenza which, in turn, joins the sea between the towns of Caorle and Porto Santa Margherita. Fishing boats line both sides of the canal, with nets and buoys and other fishing paraphernalia dumped on the side of the paths. A boat from here takes day-trippers out to see the nearby casoni.
Behind the port area is a marina with dry-dock and repair facilities.
In the past it was only possible to get between Porto Santa Margherita and Caorle by ferry (traghetto) owned by a local family, but now it runs only during the summer months.
How to get there
Caorle is about 45 minutes from Venice's Marco Polo airport, and about an hour from Treviso airport. The road from Venice is direct though there are a couple of routes that can make the journey more interesting. The road from Treviso is a bit more complicated and I have taken wrong roads on too many occasions to count even with sat nav!
The town lies beyond both the village of Brian and Porto Santa Margherita
Where to stay
There is no shortage of hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast locations - and now, with the advent of AirBnB there are private apartments and houses available.
Car parking space is at a premium. In the Centre of Caorle there is now an underground car park but I suspect it was designed for old FIAT 500's! - I had hired a Mini and found it difficult to park. Street parking is available, in some areas its is on a meter, or limited by time, but a lot of luck is needed to get a space.