6 July 2024

Grado, 5 things you can’t miss

Back to the Golden Island with sea, wine, boats, artisans, and hospitality

I’m back in Grado, too. At least once a year I must absolutely "clock in" on the Golden Island to greet old friends and discover new goodies for you. If you missed the previous articles, here is the one I dedicated to Grado in 2020 and the one I wrote for Fvg Live in 2023.

Let's get to 2024, shall we now? I choose Ilaria and Bruno's Piper Beach for my beach time: I’m in the romantic and defiladed Spiaggia Vecchia (literally “Old Beach”) also nicknamed Costa Azzurra (as in Côte d'Azur): the water here is crystal clear thanks to the very clear sand and immediately becomes deep, without running the usual risk of starting to speak Croatian when it reaches your knees...

“What about the prices?” I hear you ask. Front row, right after the foreshore, you’ll be able to rent out white gazebos for 60 euros per couple (including a bottle of prosecco or two beers) and off to live like kings at the beach for a day (cold showers included)! Oh, yeah, if you’re a family with two children, be aware that the gazebo will still cost you 60 euros. Between super comfortable umbrellas and sunbeds, I decided to get to the bar, where they always offer something good for lunch and dinner, including aperitifs. Also, on Tuesdays they have theme nights on the beach, dancing under the moon. Just amazing.

Yet Grado isn’t just about the sea, so what to do when out of the water? I’m off to say hello to Francesco of Laboratorio Orafo Oricalco, who won me over since the moment we met. Then again, it couldn't have been any other way, given that his jewelry with geometric lines and bold strokes perfectly matches my tastes. A passion for stones has always been part of him and he often organizes a few events dedicated to them, like the one scheduled in July, all about pearls. The appointments are free of charge, yet a reservation is required: you’ll learn to appreciate the value of stones and take care of them in the best possible way.

In the mood for an aperitif? In the heart of Grado, the historic Hotel Hannover was acquired by Castello di Spessa and reopened in May this year, renovating the rooms on the top floor and expanding the bar area. Hence the birth of Amadeus Wine Bar, in honor of the winery's VSQ Brut Millesimato Amadeus. I higly recommend stopping by here, since you'll find all the labels by Castello di Spessa (which is in Cormons, working on 70 hectares within the Friuli Isonzo DOC area and 28 hectares of vineyards in the hills of Capriva del Friuli). After choosing your favorite wine from the winery's wide selection of references, you might decide to nibble on something that goes well with what’s in your glass... and here come in handy the taglieri (charcuterie boards) with typical local products, or the fish cicchetti (canapés) that can easily turn into a light dinner.

In need of a change of view? To the Panoramica right away! The excursions offered by the legendary Guidone are almost endless and you can find all the details on the website (put your little finger here and click). I wanted to try the sunset aperitif with a trip on the lagoon, retracing the Roman roads that cross the canals and are still there, testifying to the history of a submerged Grado after the floods of 580 AD. If the weather is good and the sea clear and flat, you can catch a glimpse of the Roman ruins underwater, while on the surface little islands pop up, with their typical big houses, each with some anecdote to tell and shrouded in blooming fiuri de tapo, sea wormwood and fragrant wild fennel. The sun sets over the lagoon and Guidone turns off both engine and music, only to start floating on the mirror created by flat water and contemplate the sun setting the landscape ablaze for a few minutes. It looks like a painting, look at it.

Then what? You go out to sea and arrive at Banco d'Orio in fifty centimeters of water (the Panoramica actually gets there)! You disembark and toast with some snacks (Guidone always has something to eat on board, but you are free to bring more from home). One look at the Grado skyline and it's time to head back. You can also experience this in good company... after all, it’s always nice to meet new people and make friends. Ah, I might add that Guido travels the Gulf from Grado to Trieste and is always available for new routes, just contact him and ask for a quote... you have no excuses.

Darkness calls for sleep: where to sleep on the Island of the Sun? As for hosting, you are spoiled for choice, but if you want to support three young people and their local business, I recommend you turn to Futura Immobiliare! It was founded as real estate agency and then taken over almost ten years ago by three young men who, with courage and ambition, decided to expand their offer to include short-term stays and vacation rentals designed for tourists. The choice is almost endless, with one hundred apartments of varying square footage and location, perfect for a three-day and up stay. Remember, however, that they also remain a real estate agency, so if you want to sell or buy a home here in Grado, you know where to go.

From the Island of the Sun, over and out. ‘Till next time.

Photo Jessica Zufferli

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