The “Riviera Friulana” is a ring-route perfect to visit Friuli Venezia Giulia by bike. The cycle route is about 192 km long and runs between the Adriatic coast and the lagoon, crossing the lowlands as well, perfect for both sea lovers and all those who dream of walking in small woods or discovering the charm of history and archaeology.
With a ride between lagoon landscapes, along the flat ground of the valley, the itinerary is suitable for everyone: it flows along the coast of the Upper Adriatic, touches the lagoons of Grado and Marano, and reaches the Roman city of Aquileia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Credits: Provincia di Udine - Terra dei Patriarchi
5th STAGE: Marano Lagunare - Aquileia (36.3 km)
The fifth stage of the “Riviera Friulana” Cycle Trail starts from Marano Lagunare and reaches the fascinating Aquileia, a treasure trove of art and history belonging to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
Leaving from Marano Lagunare, the trail immediately returns to the maze of canals that sets this area apart, skirting the Sacile Woods and arriving to the village of Carlino. Some slightly busier roads lead to the outskirts of San Giorgio di Nogaro (borough of Porto Nogaro, km 10.5). Here travellers must take the cycle path on Via Marittima and turn left onto Via Giulia, crossing the River Corno, which will accompany the trail for a short distance. A gravel road in good condition branches off to the left, along a canal and leads to Malisana, while a cycle path leads to Torviscosa (km 18), an urban settlement dating back to the 1930s and featuring the typical Fascist architecture.
After the underpass the road runs parallel to the tracks up to the first of three roundabouts, after which it reaches the characteristic Borgo Fornasir, a Romanesque complex along the River Ausa. Here the road turns into a dirt-track road first and then into an asphalt road near Aquileia, which is to be travelled for the last 7 km of the stage.
The point of arrival is precisely the splendid Basilica of Aquileia, full of solemnity and charm where visitors can admire the mosaic floor that is the largest in the Western Christian world and certainly among the most beautiful. The city was one of the largest and richest in the Roman Empire and today houses an archaeological centre that has made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A symbol of fascist Italy and its main ideological references, this small city deserves a visit because it represents a typical foundation city of the Fascist period, i.e. one of those new towns born in Italy in the 1930s in reclamation areas and characterized by the typical architecture of the Regime. It is also a city-industry, whose foundation is closely linked to the presence in the area of a large Italian company, SNIA Viscosa (from which Torviscosa takes a part of its name) that at the time was mainly devoted to the production of artificial fibres obtained from cellulose. The new city, imagined as a place that would expand and accommodate up to 20,000 people, was built around the factory, organized in functional areas. The original structure has not undergone substantial changes and even today the working village, the houses built for the technicians, the managers villas, and the work and leisure areas are still visible. The fulcrum of public life was the square Piazza Impero (today Piazza del Popolo). Of the old village all that remains is the 18th-century Church of the Madonna del Rosario.
Ancient Roman colony founded in 181 BC, Aquileia, with its immense archaeological area, is a treasure trove of art and history. It was one of the largest and richest cities of the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean, home to a Patriarchate and centre of Christianity that maintained its importance throughout Central Europe during the Middle Ages. Important archaeological excavations have brought to light some of the best-preserved remains, evidence of ancient Roman grandeur, which is why the city has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Among the treasures of Aquileia is the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, dating back to the year 1000, the old Cathedral church of the Patriarchate which, with its magnificent 4th-century mosaics, is an unparalleled example of religious architecture. This was founded in the 11th century and stands, imposing, together with the Baptistery and the high bell tower (73 metres) while inside it houses the oldest Christian mosaic of the Western world. The town develops around the Basilica, also incorporating the ruins of the ancient Roman city.
City of departure: Marano Lagunare
Departure: Marano Lagunare
City of arrival: Aquileia
Length (Km): 36
Type of Itinerary: Half Day
Difference in height (m): 177
Difference in downhill (m): 174
Highest point (m): 6
Lowest point (m): 1155
Duration (h.): 3