The historic centre
The historic centre of Caorle boasts some priceless treasures and an innate elegance which lends it a very special attraction. The oldest part of the town is in the typical Venetian style, with little alleyways and traditional houses with painted facades, and radiates a special sense of peace and tranquillity. The historic churches, monuments and museums tell the story of an ancient past, and of a culture of farming and fishing which has survived over the centuries.
Historically, the town was criss-crossed by canals, now all filled in, such as the Canale Pretorio, now Via Roma, the Rio di Mezzo, now Rio Terrà, and the Rio delle Beccarie, the current Piazza Matteotti. The only canal still to be seen is the Canale Varrogio, which reaches right into the town centre and serves as the harbour for the fishing-boats.
One of the most recognisable symbols of Caorle is certainly the town’s cathedral, the Duomo di Santo Stefano, built in the Byzantine style. Next to it stands an imposing bell-tower, 48 metres high, which often forms the backdrop to firework displays in summer.
A peculiarity of the houses in the old centre is their outside fireplaces. This was due to the fact that families at the time were large, and space had to be made for everyone to gather round the table.
The churches and sanctuaries of Caorle
Another place to visit in the old town is the Santuario della Madonna dell’Angelo, dating back to the 4th century and possibly the first ever church in Caorle. The building demonstrates the very strong bond between the local fishermen and the figure of the Virgin. This is evident in the frescoes inside the church, including the painting on the vaulted ceiling, but also in the design of the church itself. The present church with a single nave, dating from 1751 and dedicated to the Madonna of the Angel, was rebuilt in this style on the ruins of the original triple-nave church, at the behest of the fishing community.
On the fringes of the traffic-free zone, you will find the Chiesa della Madonna di Pompei, while in the old town there are two historic churches: the Chiesa delle Grazie (or della Natività) and the Chiesa di San Rocco.
In the Cà Corniani district, stands the Chiesa di S. Giovanni Battista, a church with a single nave dedicated to St. John the Baptist. A unique wooden statue of the saint can be found at the far end of the apse.
If you visit the Cà Cottoni district, you will come to the Chiesa della Resurrezione. Of particular interest is the main altarpiece (18th century) depicting the Resurrection, flanked by two angels. The two side naves also have lovely carved wooden altars.
The “calli” (alleyways)
The old town of Caorle consists of a network of little squares and typical Venetian “calli”, which echo to the sound of feet hurrying between the little shops and workshops. The area also provides the setting for many events, especially in summer.
One of the most important arteries is Via Maggiore, now Rio Terrà. Once a canal, it is now an elegant street lined with shops, boutiques, craft workshops and restaurants, providing a very evocative scene when lit up at night.
The “Darsena dell’Orologio” (Clock Harbour)
The famous Darsena dell’Orologio is situated right next to the old town of Caorle.
The Darsena is not just a marina, but also an important residential area, with elegant apartments with painted facades in the typical style of the Venetian lagoon.
– 480 berths for craft up to 25 metres
– Shipyard services
– Fuel sales nearby
Trips around the lagoon
The Caorle lagoon is one of most important eco-systems in the region. It typifies the local area and offers visitors the delights of a unique landscape and great natural beauty.
The best way to explore the lagoon is by boat, drifting slowly along its waterways. Alternatively, you can hire a bike and ride along the lagoon pathways, passing the “casoni” (fishermen’s cottages) and enjoying the stillness and the sounds of nature.
Ernest Hemingway mentions the Caorle lagoon in his novel “Across the River and Into the Trees” (1950), describing a peaceful natural scene, a magical landscape far from the noise of the city. There are various routes you can take to explore the lagoon landscape. We would like to recommend one in particular.
The fishermen’s cottages
When you visit the lagoon, you will come across the “casoni”: typical cottages which have stood in the lagoon and surrounding countryside over many centuries, providing shelter for the farmers, fishermen and hunters of the Veneto.
Made from wood, sedge, clay and reeds and anchored in the water, these huts have now almost disappeared from the Veneto region, thanks to the radical changes of the last century.
In the Caorle lagoon area, you can still see some of the fishermen’s “casoni” which once served as homes or seasonal dwellings.
You can cross the lagoon by boat, travelling through an evocative landscape of earth and water towards one of these “casoni”. You can then observe it from close at hand, surrounded by the peaceful atmosphere of times past.