The enchanting Vallevecchia conservation area is a hidden treasure between the Adriatic Sea and the Caorle lagoon that spans approximately 900 hectares. Surrounded by river, sea and lagoon waters, it’s a peaceful, unspoilt environment with a wealth of biodiversity.
One of the many people to fall under the spell of this part of the world was the renowned American writer Ernest Hemingway. He describes the beauty of Vallevecchia in his novel “Across the River and into the Trees”, which features a colonel who has fought in both World Wars and decides to live out his days there.
In this article, we’ll help you to discover Vallevecchia and provide useful information about how to visit, its history, activities you can enjoy and more besides.
How to get to Vallevecchia
You can get to the Vallevecchia conservation area by car from Portogruaro by going through Concordia Sagittaria, Sindacale, Lugugnana and Castello di Brussa.
It’s approximately 30-35 km from Bibione and Caorle. You can also get there in the number 1 ATVO bus, which leaves from Portogruaro.
Very near Brussa beach is a large car park with approximately 1200 spaces. It’s free during the winter, but payment is required between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm from June to September.
It costs €5.00 a day to park a car and €10.00 a day to park a motorhome. Please note that it is only a parking area and not a campsite.
What to do when visiting Vallevecchia
Once you get to Vallevecchia, there are a number of ways to explore the area. You could walk along the clearly marked paths, get around by bike, ride a horse or simply take it easy on the beach.
It’s important to protect the environment, so you mustn’t walk, put umbrellas or lie down on the sand dunes, which play a crucial role in the prevention of beach erosion. Only walk on the marked paths and do not disturb the wildlife. You can lie down and place umbrellas anywhere you like on the beach itself.
Do not litter in the conservation area and do not light fires or throw away cigarette butts or matches, because they might start fires. Camping is not permitted anywhere in the area.
Dogs are welcome if you keep them on a lead and near you, so that they don’t bother other people or damage the environment.
The history of the Vallevecchia conservation area in Brussa
The Vallevecchia conservation area in Brussa was originally a fishing ground in the Caorle lagoon.
Between the 1920s and 1930s, Mussolini’s government embarked on the reclamation of many lagoon areas and wetlands, including this site.
The Milanese lawyer Giuseppe Lovati was put in charge of the land reclamation project and he was assisted by local people.
The appearance of the area remained very similar to its natural state for many years. It was not until the 1960s and 1970s that the marshes were drained to create an Experimental and Educational Farm run by the Veneto Region, which exploited the agricultural potential of the land.
For many years, endless hectares of the area were dedicated to extensive monoculture. Eventually, important preservation and vegetation planting work was done to stabilize the sand dunes and interdunal wetlands. The environment was protected and the landscape was regenerated. The hedgerows, wetlands and woods mean that Vallevecchia is totally unique in terms of its biodiversity.
The Vallevecchia landscape
There are a variety of habitats in the Vallevecchia landscape, including sand dunes, pine woods, wetlands and cultivated fields. This diversity in the ecosystems creates an ideal environment for a vast range of plant and animal species. As you walk along the paths, you can admire the sublime sweeping views and the brightly coloured flowers as you breath in the fragrance of the pine trees.
Wildlife in the Vallevecchia conservation area
Vallevecchia is heaven for lovers of wildlife and birdwatching. The species that can be seen include numerous types of birds, such as herons, flamingos, cormorants, great spotted woodpeckers, swans, grebes, wild geese and various kinds of ducks.In addition, you might come across hares, pheasants, fallow deer, roe deer, hedgehogs and many other small mammals. The area is also home to various species of reptiles and amphibians, which contribute to the exceptional biodiversity of Vallevecchia.
Visiting routes: explore the conservation area
If you want to discover Vallevecchia in all of its breathtaking beauty, there are a number of walking, cycling and horse-riding routes you can follow. There are various paths stretching out for kilometres, so you can really get to the heart of nature. Whether you’re an expert or a beginner, you’re bound to find a route to suit your needs.
Explore Vallevecchia on foot
If you’d like to explore the area on foot, after the bridge from the mainland to the island of Brussa, we recommend driving along the straight road leading to the sea for 1 km and then leaving your vehicle in the large car park on the right.From there, you can follow the path that goes through the sand dunes to the beach.On the way, you can admire the distinctive flora in the coastal dunes and enjoy the shade in the pine woods before you get to the wild beach, where you can savour the sound of the waves breaking on the shore.
If you walk east towards Bibione during your trip to Vallevecchia, don’t miss the chance to visit the “casoni”: old wooden buildings with reed roofs that are a typical sight in the Caorle lagoon. These traditional structures keep memories of the past alive and are a wonderful way to experience the local history and culture. They are private buildings, but if you find the owners on site and you ask, they might let you look inside.
Cycling around the conservation area
Vallevecchia is also the perfect place for a bike ride. You can have fun and unwind as you explore the whole area thanks to the many cycling routes. As you ride through the cultivated fields and the pine woods, revel in the peace and quiet of this spellbinding spot.When you get to the bridge between the mainland and the island, you can either follow the paths to the right towards the mouth of the canal between Brussa and nearby Caorle, or take the paths to the left down to a place where you can find a couple of classic “casoni” and admire gorgeous views of the lagoon alongside Bibione.
You’ll come across a number of birdwatching towers where you can climb up ladders and quietly watch the spectacular natural sights through observation slits without disturbing the animals in their habitats.
X-Lagoon boat links between Bibione, Vallevecchia and Caorle
If you’re fond of bike rides, we recommend the extremely handy ferry you can take from Bibione or Caorle if you want to visit Brussa on foot or by bike. Take your bicycle on board and get ready to discover some magnificent places.
You need to book at http://xlagoon.it
For info: firstname.lastname@example.org WhatsApp +39 351 6988159
You can board the ferry at:
- – Bibione – 14 Via della Laguna, in Bibione Pineda.
- – Caorle – Strada Passo Falconera – Isola dei Pescatori
- – Vallevecchia – Via del Dossetto, near the Vallevecchia Environment Museum.
Products from Vallevecchia
Some outstanding goods are available from environmentally friendly local producers, including vegetables preserved in vinegar or oil, fine wines, flour, pasta, beer, cured meats and choice cheese that’s packed with authentic flavour.
You can also buy seafood from the famous Caorle fish market.
In Vallevecchia Observatory, audiovisual content and graphics will help you to discover the stunning sights and history of the surrounding area. Vallevecchia environment museum is designed to accommodate a large number of visitors. It contains an educational laboratory with models, interactive panels and an observation deck with 360° views of the natural environment.
- – Open from Tuesday to Friday, from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm (call +39 0421 1765659 to check the times)
- – Tickets are €3.00 for adults and €1.00 for children aged 10 and under
- – E-bike chargingstations are available
- – Bike hire is available – €10 for a whole day or €6 after 1:00 pm.
Vallevecchia is a real natural gem that definitely deserves to be explored. There’s nothing quite like stepping into the beautifully pristine natural environment and discovering the wildlife that lives in this beguiling conservation area between the sea and the lagoon.Whether you choose to explore on foot, ride around on a bike or simply relax on the beach, you can really unwind among the peace and quiet of Vallevecchia conservation area. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this marvellous place during your stay in Veneto. If you haven’t booked yet, you can find the ideal accommodation for you in an apartment or holiday village at www.lampo.it