Caorle amid traditions, legends and culture

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Pearl of the Adriatic, little Venice, Veneto City of Culture in 2022: over the years Caorle has earned many names and titles thanks to its unique beauty and vast natural and artistic heritage.

In this article, we take you on a tour of discovery of the traditions and cultural riches that make this town a true treasure of the Veneto.

A tradition that begins in Roman times

Caorle’s origins date back to Roman times, when the town served mainly as a river port and fishing base. Over the centuries, the village developed into a thriving fishing community thanks to its excellent location and the depopulation of the hinterland due to the barbarian invasions.

Caorle’s seafaring tradition is still alive today and can be observed in various aspects of town life, such as the fish market that animates the port of Caorle every afternoon. Here the sale of the catch takes place through a very special auction, known as the ‘auction by ear‘. Local restaurateurs and hoteliers whisper their bids to the auctioneer, who then announces the highest bidder loudly.

Another particularly evocative place that bears witness to the city’s maritime culture is Isola dei Pescatori (Fishermen’s Island): a picturesque path along the lagoon dotted with rustic, almost prehistoric-looking constructions. These ‘casoni’ of wood and marsh reeds were originally used by fishermen as shelters during their long fishing sessions.

Caorle’s seafaring tradition is then celebrated with the Fish Festival, usually held every September. For a week, the town is transformed into a lively gastronomic festival. Stands, bars and tables are set up along the beach where the best of local fish products can be tasted in a festive and convivial atmosphere.

A town full of stories to tell

The centre of Caorle, known as ‘Rio Terrà‘, is a collection of colourful calli, campielli and alleyways that have earned it the nickname ‘little Venice’. Among the many places of interest is the Caorle Cathedral and its bell tower, as much a symbol of the city as the sea. Built in 1083, the cathedral presents a harmonious fusion of Romanesque and Byzantine elements, typical of many ecclesiastical buildings in the Veneto of that period.

Another place of interest is the Sanctuary of the Madonna dell’Angelo, located on the beach of Caorle and linked to ancient religious beliefs. According to a legend dating back to the 7th century, some local fishermen found a wooden statue of the Madonna floating in the sea despite the fact that it was resting on a marble pedestal. Surprisingly, only a few children managed to lift it. Taken to Caorle Cathedral, the statue disappeared in mysterious circumstances, only to be found again in the small church on the beach, the present Sanctuary. Since then, the history of the Sanctuary has been characterised by prodigious episodes, such as the great flood of 1727 that, although it devastated Caorle, miraculously spared the small church.

In 1923, the statue was later destroyed by a fire caused by thieves. In memory of this event, every second weekend in July, Caorle organises a procession during which a copy of the statue of the Madonna is carried from the Sanctuary to the Cathedral. For the occasion, the city’s bell tower is illuminated by fireworks simulating a fire, offering a visual spectacle of great emotional and symbolic impact.

An inspiring muse for artists from all over the world

Throughout its long history, the beauty of Caorle has inspired a multitude of artists and creative people from all over the world. Among them, the famous writer Ernest Hemingway, who assiduously frequented the Caorle lagoon between 1955 and 1957, falling in love with its unspoilt nature.

In addition to its natural beauty and rich history, Caorle is today the scene of lively cultural events celebrating art in all its forms. One of these is ‘Scogliera Viva‘, a unique event that transforms the cliff into an open-air art gallery. Every two years, artists from all over the world are invited to sculpt directly on the rocks of Caorle, thus enriching the waterfront with striking works of art.

Another highlight is ‘Luna nel Pozzo‘ (Moon in the Well), a festival combining street theatre, music and performance art, which transforms the city into a living stage.

In addition, Caorle offers a variety of cultural events that enrich the tourist offer throughout the year, such as:

  • Caorle Sea Festival – Street Art Spring Experience, where international artists create colourful murals in various corners of the city.
  • Centro Culturale Bafile, which hosts a series of exhibitions and artistic displays from around the world each year.
  • Caorle Film Festival, an annual event celebrating independent cinema with screenings and meetings.
  • Caorle Oltremare, a cultural event where internationally renowned writers and journalists meet with the public in Piazza Vescovado to discuss their works and share their experiences.
  • Caorle in Jazz, an annual event that transforms the city streets into an open-air stage, with performances by local and international jazz artists.
  • Caorle Street Piano Festival, a unique musical event. Several pianos are placed in the most beautiful corners of the city, ready to be played by passers-by and professional musicians.

For sports enthusiasts, the city hosts national-level events such as the Italian Beach Volleyball Championships, the International Karate Trophy and the ‘la 500’ sailing regatta.

Even outside the summer season, Caorle comes alive with Caorle Christmas Time, keeping the city alive all year round.

Discovering Caorle from Pra’ delle Torri

As we have seen, Caorle is a city with countless stories to tell, a place where every corner reveals centuries of history and every event carries the echo of ancient traditions.

To fully immerse yourself in its culture and live the experience to the full, we recommend staying at the Pra’ delle Torri Holiday Centre, just 10 minutes from the centre of Caorle.

Here, you can relax after a day of exploration, enjoying all the amenities and activities the Centre has to offer.

Set out to discover Caorle