Saturday, May 24, 2014

ITALY: NORTHEAST COASTAL AREA

View from our hotel balcony Cervia
From Torgiano, we made our way over to the northern coastal area of Italy.  The entire east coast of Italy runs along the Adriatic sea and Italians flock to the countless beach resorts in July and August, but things were pretty quiet when we were there in May. 

Infinity pool at Villa del Mare Hotel Cervia
Painted boats in Cesenatico

Our first stop was Cervia, once famous as a salt producing city but presently better known for its beaches and spas.   Like most Italian seaside towns, the paved pathway along the beach goes on for miles and we took advantage of it by foot and bicycle.  We stayed at a beautiful, modern hotel with an infinity pool on the roof and a wide balcony overlooking the sea.  Just a few miles south of Cervia is Cesenatico founded in 1302 and known for historic fishing boats with brightly painted hulls displayed in the canal that runs through the town.  
Grado's wide beaches
Marina in the center of Grado
Ancient ruins and mosaic tiles in Grado

Proceeding up the coast, we stopped in Sottomarina for a few days. It is part of the municipality of Chioggia, a group of small islands at the southern entrance to the Lagoon of Venice. The area's economy is based on fishing except in Sottomarina where they depend on seafront tourism.  It is very old and I cannot recommend it but Grado, our next stop, is a charming island that was once more important than Venice.  It is east of Venice,  almost to the border of Slovenia, has a lovely historic center, several pedestrian only areas and beautiful beaches and sports facilities. 

Next we head into Croatia.