Chioggia, the salt capital in the Middle Ages and then the second town of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, is placed to the south end of the Venetian Lagoon in an extremely peculiar position, between the sea and the lagoon.
Thanks to its position in the Venetian Lagoon and to the singularity of its landscape and environment, it has been acknowledged in 1987 by UNESCO, which placed it on its list as a World Heritage Site. Furthermore, for its significant historical and artistic heritage Chioggia can also be the proud holder of the title of “city of art”.
The town centre is of particular interest, an example of town planning widely quoted by scholars and writers, because of its characteristic “herringbone” structure, in which the vertical lines of the piazza and of the internal and external canals (north-south) meet the horizontal ones of regularly aligned alleys (east-west); this recalls the most important activity of the town: fishing.
It is surrounded by three canals on which many palaces and Venetian-style houses look. Nine bridges cross over the central canal, Canal Vena. The old town centre, with its churches and town museums, is an out and out jewel-case of works of art from various different periods and styles.
Like many towns with ancient origins Chioggia had the vice of searching for its roots in myths and legends too.
Given that Clodia was the town’s ancient name, for a long time there persisted the legend that it was founded by a veteran of the Trojan war, a certain Clodio who, together with Aeneas, Antenor and Aquilio, had arrived in the Italian peninsula.
On the other hand, further references to place names with ancient origins, such as Lusenzo, Perottolo, Bebe, and Evrone, nourished the belief of a Pelasgian settlement, dating back to 2000 BC, inhabited by people from Thessaly.
Even today there is a popular belief among fishermen that there was an ancient, submerged Chioggia that had sunk about a mile and a half from the coast: a kind of Atlantis. The event has been localized in a precise area, now a “biologically protected zone”, known as “Tegnùe”, where, that is, fishermen often lost their nets, which were snagged by some “mysterious” obstacles.
This is a belief that today has a scientific explanation based on the particular nature of the seabed which was formed from rocky outcrops of an organic character; scholars have evolved some fascinating theories about their origins, such as that of an old line of beaches, dating back 3,900 years, when the mainland was far further forward with respect to the sea.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Saint Andrew's Church and the Clock Tower
Saint Domenico's Church
The Church of the Filippini Order
Saint Giacomo's Church
The Holy Trinity Church
The museum of adriatic zoology G. Olivi
Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral
Southern Lagoon City Museum
Diocesan Museum of Religious Art