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If you are staying in Venice during these last days of summer, you should visit also the suggestive Pellestrina Island. Take the waterbus from Sant’Elena to Lido of Venice (line 5.1 or 5.2) and once reach the Lido pick up bus n. 11.
Yes… you did not get indication wrong! Bus n.11 will drive onto a ferry right at the tip of Alberoni, ready to continue the journey by selling across Pellestrina.
This sliver of an island is 11 km long and at times just a few meters wide, the width of a narrow sea wall – the Murazzi – built in 1751, to protect Venice and its lagoon from the tides and storms of the Adriatic.
Pellestrina is home to three tight-knit village communities of fishermen – almost everyone here is called Scarpa or Vianello, with residents known just by their nicknames – and visiting is like stepping back in time.
On the long Adriatic beach the sand stretches for miles – no sun loungers and umbrellas for rent, no souvenir sellers or restaurants. On the other side of the Murazzi, the village of San Pietro in Volta, Porto Secco and Pellestrina itself, are strung out along the water’s edge on the lagoon side, tiny cottages painted in a kaleidoscope of bright colours.
Walking along the waterfront you will see local people, sit outside their houses in narrow alleyways, gossiping, talking, fussing over babies and pets while fishermen patiently mend their nets ready for the next sortie onto the lagoon in search of clams and crabs.
Visitors are not so usually here anyway, to get a taste of local life, you should to the wonderfully retro Bar Siciliano, where fishermen gather round the pool table, play card and drink a glass of the Spritz aperitifs.
The last leg of the number 11 bus takes in Pellestrina’s cemetery, where the Murazzi disappears into the horizon towards Ca’ Roman, a protected oasis of flora and fauna of white sandy beaches, dunes and pinewoods.
And if you want to carry on your trip cross the lagoon for the final destination… the port of Chioggia.
The journey takes a quarter of an hour, and although Chioggia’s waterfront can’t compare with the opulence of the Bacino di San Marco, once you’ve disembarked and set off along the Gran Viale, it is as if you’re in a little Venice. Tiny canals crisscross the town centre, lined with a colourful mix of gothic palazzi, lively bars and osterie, plus a brilliant fish market along the Vena Canal.