The authenticity of the characteristics which make Grado a unique location, make it also an attractive destination both in autumn and in winter. Grado is a genuine, historic town, in terms of both its pros and cons, enabling it to be contextualised into an intangible yet original “time frame”.
The historic town centre, its inhabitants and its language all narrate the entire history of Grado from ancient times to today. Both the Mirabel Hotel and the Mirabel Suite Spa are at the complete disposal of guests who would like to learn more about Grado and its surrounding areas which are rich in tradition, history, art as well as unique natural environments.
Grado beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in northern Italy: the perfect place to spend your Italian beach holidays, week ends or short brakes. The lighthouse beach: free admission, where you can bring your own beach equipment. There are also beach-grant areas.
The main beach of Grado: is a huge fenced facility, with paid access to the foreshore. The interior is very nice, provided with cabins, services, spa, games, sport facilities, mini-golf. There is a charge for each of these services.
Shrine of ‘Our lady of Barbana’
The shrine of ‘Our lady of Barbana’ was built on 582, when a violent storm threatened the city of Grado. After the storm, a picture of Mary, transported by water, was found at the foot of an elm. The Patriarch of the time, Elia (571-588) built the first church in gratitude for having saved the city from the storm. Since then, the sanctuary has been destroyed and rebuilt several times.
The current shrine, which stands on an island in the eastern end of the lagoon, was built in neo-Romanesque style and preserves many vestiges of the previous buildings over the centuries including two columns that probably date back to the original church.
Every year the island of Barbana is visited by a pilgrimage that starts from Grado and it is inhabited by a community of Franciscan friars.
Grado lagoon is one of the best places to visit in Italy. The lagoon has existed since the V century and it is divided into a western sector (la palù de soto), which is very extensive and rich with islands; and an east sector ( la palù de sora), which extends to the north of Grado Island.
The lagoon is full of trees (tamariskcs, elms, poplars, junipers and pines), while the fauna is full of a wide variety of birds, including seagulls, egrets, herons, mallards and terns.
Some islands are permanently inhabited: among these, Barbana which has hosted for 1,500 years a Marian shrine.
Grado song festival
After 1946, this popular festival take place every year in Grado. This event is particularly appriciated by the community.
El Perdon de Barbana
The most important religious tradition of the community is the ‘Perdòn de Barbana’, which is celebrated on the morning of the first Sunday of July. It is a votive procession in which a suggestive cortege of boats carries through the lagoon a statue of Our Lady of Angels from the Basilica of Saint Euphemia to the island of Barbana, where a Marian shrine rises up.
The origin of this pilgrimage dates back to 1237, when the population of Grado vowed to go every year to Barban as a thanksgiving for the end of plague epidemic. The event, which begins early in the morning is preceded by a recollection and celebration day (il Sabo grando), and today attracts many pilgrims and tourists.
The name Perdòn derives from the tradition of approaching the sacrament of reconciliation, on the occasion of the pilgrimage.
Visit the historical centre
The old town of Grado offers several artistic attractions such as St Euphemia Basilica, Battistero and Lapidario, the church of Saint Mary of grace and the town hall square.
A literary festival called Grado Giallo has been held in the city since 2008. A series of conferences, shows and meetings with authors of thriller novels, detective novels, noir novels, spy stories, and horror novels. A murder mystery dinner party is also a fun gastronomic initiative.
Baptistery and basilica of St Euphemia
These are Grado major landmarks for art lovers. The paleochristian basilica of st. Euhemia was built on an existing church ruins, the basilica of Petrus of which you can see some remains in the building. Construction work began at the beginning of the fifth century under the will of Bishop Niceta and were completed in 579 by Bishop Elia who dedicated the basilica to St Euphemia, martyr of Chalcedon. The style of the construction is simple and linear and it is enhanced by light face-bricks which cover it.
The interior is divided into three aisles and two rows of columns, all different from each other.
The mosaic pavement testifies the Byzantine influence thanks to the prevalence of geometric patterns.
In the basilica was preserved a beautiful bishop ivory chair probably donated to the city from Alexandria of Egypt by order of Heraclius II. Its ivory tablets, known as Avori di Grado, went missing in the fifteenth century. The few ones that remain are now divided between several major museums, not only in Italy.
On the right side of the church stands the bell tower where at its top was placed the copper statue of St. Michael Archangel that Venetians donated to the city in 1462.
On the left, detached from the body of the church, stands the octagonal Baptistery (V century) in which is placed a hexagonal baptismal font. In front of the Baptistery, in a small garden, some Roman sarcophagi from the II and III centuries a.d are preserved.
Not far from the Basilica , from the southern end of the Roman fort you can see mosaics and remains of the oldest Basilica della Corte, whose first construction dates back to the mid – fourth century.