Aquileia used to be the second biggest port of the Roman empire. Step back to ancient Rome, and then across the lagoon to the seaside town of Grado, with its sandy beaches and beautiful old town.
The day starts with a short drive to the ancient Roman town of Aquileia. A guided tour of the patriarchal basilica, the Roman river port, the museo archeologico and the museo paleocristiano, is followed by an informal lunch; and after lunch the tour continues to Grado, otherwise known as Isola del Sole and frequently described as a northern relative of Venice.
Roman town of Aquileia, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Grado, Istria, taste of local dishes – (Day 1)
Guests will meet the guide and transfer to ancient Roman town of Aquileia, one of the main archaeological sites of Northern Italy and identified in the IV century as the 9th largest city in the World. Aquileia was an important city and the main centre for the spread of Christianity through northern and eastern Europe. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the sheer size of its archeological sites as well as the artistic value of its early Christian mosaics. The two national museums and the extraordinary patriarchal basilica are visited by hundreds of visitors every day.
Grado is next.
In the afternoon the guide will take guests to this historic seaside town located on a lagoon island along Italy’s north-east Adriatic coast. The town is frequently described as a northern relative to Venice; at one time it was the more important of the two towns. Like Venice, Grado was populated by the inhabitants of mainland Roman settlements who were fleeing into the lagoons to escape successive invasions. After the sixth-century fall of the Roman city of Aquileia, Grado became the seat of the Patriarch or Archbishop who was responsible for the Adriatic lagoon islands and for Istria. After various disputes, including an occasion when the Venetians came here and threw the Patriarch off his palace tower, Grado came under the sway of Venice and the Patriarchs moved to Venice in eleventh century. The Patriarchate was officially moved four centuries later.
Grado has a very relaxing fine-sanded beach, which for many years has been classed as environmentally protected “Bandiera Blu”. In Grado you will find good quality service with an emphasis on comfort and safety. Children can play for hours in the shallow, clean and always calm water. Play areas and babysitting services are available.
Up to the beginning of the 19th century, the Habsburg aristocracy used to come here to bathe and use the excellent seaside thermal springs. These thermal spring facilities have recently been renovated, with the addition of new beauty care areas offering a host of treatment programs, from thalassotherapy to the prevention of premature skin aging.
Sports include beach volleyball, basketball and football, windsurfing, sailing, water skiing and canoeing. There is a scenic 18-hole golf course right next to the sea and also the Grado Spa with its swimming pool, sauna and aesthetic and beauty treatments.
People of this area are relying on fishing since long time ago, and the huts (“casoni”) that the fisherman used as shelter, can still be seen all over the lagoon.
After checking in at the hotel, guests can enjoy the cool shade walking through the beautiful maritime pines and in spectacular sunsets. A relaxing atmosphere and the seaside view are perfect for an evening aperitif with a few glasses of some of the best wines the Collio has to offer.
A gourmet dinner is a wonderful opportunity to taste high quality locally sourced products prepared following time-honoured traditions. The most famous local dish is a local traditional fish soup called “boreto a la graisàna”.
A guide is available on request for an after dinner stroll in the charming old town parts of Grado. Be ready to uncover some of its hidden treasures.
Presque Isle, Trieste gulf, Marina near the Duino Castle – (Day 2)
Guests will meet with their personal skipper and board a London registered historic schooner: Presque Isle. They will spend a relaxing day sailing along the coast of the Trieste gulf. On board a personal chef will prepare lunch and the skipper will describe the beautiful location of this section of the North Adriatic sea.
In the afternoon guests will stop briefly in a very special Marina near the Duino Castle for an aperitif.
Sailing back to Grado.
Gourmet dinner in a local restaurant.
Breakfast and transfer – (Day 3)
Breakfast & check-out of hotel.
Transfer to the airport.
- 2 nights accommodation in a superior hotel
- Daily breakfast
- 1 full day guided tour
- Entrance tickets to museums, monuments, historical sites, etc.
- 2 gourmet dinners
- 8 hours schooner trip with skipper and personal chef (up to 8 people)
- 1 evening aperitif