The final stage of the Mytho Marathon Routes: Aquileia 2023

Mytho Marathon 2023

The famous Roman town of Aquileia will crown the first runners who will complete all the three MYTHO Marathon routes in 2023. Aquileia was an important town of the Roman Empire and, years later, the main centre of the spreading of Christianity in North-eastern Europe, becoming famous for its majestic basilica. The importance of its archaeological area and the beauty of the floor mosaics it preserves allowed Aquileia to be included in the UNESCO sites in 1998.

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Aquileia, an important city of the Roman Empire and then the main centre for the diffusion of Christianity in Northern and Eastern Europe, represents an extraordinary opportunity to broaden knowledge, offering an unforgettable visiting experience. It has been a UNESCO site since 1998 due to the importance of its archaeological area and the beauty of the floor mosaics that it safeguards. Among them, the largest and most well-known attraction is the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, dating back to the fourth century. However, added to this are other precious mosaic remains from the Roman and early Christian ages, which make Aquileia a kind of capital of the Western Roman mosaic.

Besides the basilica complex, the Early Christian National Museum and the National Archaeological Museum must be included in your visit.


The Valle Cavanata Regional Nature Reserve is located in the eastern part of the Grado lagoon which was embanked and equipped with adjustable sluices in communication with the sea and transformed into a fish rearing operation that functioned until 1995. In the northern Adriatic lagoons, natural environments modified by the human, these fish rearing ponds have a particular meaning (a term deriving from the Latin vallum – embankment, or wall). These are shallow lagoon areas, with mudflats and sandbanks, embanked and hydraulically isolated from the surrounding waters, and used for fish farming. The optimal water level within the valle is maintained through adjustable locks.
Today, Valle Cavanata, with its 250 hectares, is one of the largest fishing valli in the Grado lagoon, even if it only a part of that which was created from the lagoon and surrounding marshy area from the 1920s onwards, when the major reclamation works were carried out. Valle Cavanata was completely embanked in the 1930s, becoming a fishing and hunting valle with an area about three times larger than that at present. In the same period, the area located to the east of today’s valle was reclaimed for agriculture, thus reducing the marshy areas, and the Canale Averto, an ancient branch of the Isonzo, was transformed into a spillway channel for the “della Vittoria” (“Victory”) reclamations after World War One. The reclamation works were completed in the areas north of the valley in the 1950s which drastically reduced its area to its current size. After the floods of 1965 and 1966, the sea embankment was reinforced, the Averto Canale closed to the sea, and the current beach was created.


The Adriatic Sea Cycle Route (FVG 2) will connect Trieste and Venice and is an integral part of the European "Eurovelo" route number 8 (Cadiz-Athens) as well as of several FIAB "Bicitalia" routes and the Adriabike Tarvisio-Trieste-Ravenna route. This is the itinerary in Friuli Venezia Giulia boasting the most international connections.
Trieste is the natural starting point for this captivating route that travels to the main seaside resorts in Friuli Venezia Giulia, travelling through the Karst region and crossing the Friulian lowlands, close to the Lagoon of Grado and Marano.
From Monfalcone, the journey permeates the country setting of the Lower Plain, rich with countless waterways. This is where the Roman remains of Aquileia emerge, surrounded by the coastal landscape of the Lagoon of Grado and Marano. A visit to the well-known regional seaside resorts of Grado and Lignano Sabbiadoro and the fishing port of Marano Lagunare is a must. The many protected nature reserves and nature oases that are located along the way (the Isonzo Mouth, Cavanata Valley, Canal Novo Valley and the Stella Mouth) will provide nature lovers with the opportunity of appreciating the environmental and birdlife characteristics of the Lagoon.


Grado, joined to the mainland by a narrow strip of land, has a graceful Venetian style historic town centre where you can wander through the alleyways and squares flanked by picturesquely cluttered fishermen's houses: a charming world of its own where time seems to have stopped.
In the wonderful setting of Campo dei Patriarchi in the old city you can admire the early Christian buildings such as the Basilica dedicated to Santa Eufemia, from which top stands the statue of the Angel San Michele (called Anzolo and symbol of the city), the Baptistery and the Lapidarium. Moreover, there, you can visit the Basilica dedicated to Santa Maria delle Grazie, the oldest of Grado.
The central Biagio Marin Square is dedicated to the famous local poet: there you can also find the remains of the old and imponent Basilica della Corte.
The hystorical centre belongs to pedestrians that can peacefully discover the most important features of the Golden Island.
Walking along the seafront Nazario Sauro, you can also enjoy a marvellous view on the Karst, Trieste and the Istrian Coast.


The Barbana Island is situated at the eastern tip of the lagoon of Grado and features an ancient Marian sanctuary. A primitive sepulchre was built on the island in the 6th century which, according to tradition, had to preserve a holy image of the Virgin transported in that place by the sea after a storm and which was erected, by order of the Patriarch of Grado Elia (571-588), to thank the Virgin for saving the town of Grado. Its name probably derives from Barbano, a sixth-century hermit who had settled on it gathering around himself a community of monks.
The Sanctuary, in its current form, dates back to the 1926 renovation. Its high bell tower can be seen from far away, thus being a point of reference of the lagoon of Grado.
This picturesque island, an oasis of peace and of ancient traditions, has always been a pilgrimage destination.
A regular boat service, leaving from the Schiusa Canal, links the Barbana Island to Grado. The trip lasts about 20 minutes. The island can also be reached by private boats and is provided with a small port.


In one week from Salzburg to Grado. Eight cycling stages to connect the city of Mozart to the Adriatic Sea, passing through the Alps. The Alpe Adria cycle path, by integrating old railway tracks and numerous tunnels, makes the Alpine crossing a pleasure tour on two wheels - with culture, sport and cuisine.
One of the most spectacular part of the entire route is the point to point from Aquileia to Grado. Aquileia, founded in 181 B.C., became one of the biggest and richest towns of the whole Roman Empire, being defined the "second Rome". This wonderful town has an extremely important archaeological area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When you let Aquileia in 5km you enter into the fantastic Grado lagoon. It offers a landscape rich in colours with the green of the luxuriant vegetation and the blue of the Adriatic sea. A small fantastic world, immersed in the calm of nature with the intertwining canals and streams, paths of faith of ancient origin as witnessed by the Sanctuary of Mary of the Island of Barbana, one of the most visited in Italy.