Bicycle routes - Friuli by bicycle - Ciclovia Alpe Adria
Aquileia, Grado and the Estuary of the Isonzo
Altimetry, time table, map Trace A, 56 km  —  Trace B, 53 km Flag

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This route, the final leg and the point of arrival to the sea, of the Ciclovia Alpe Adria [Alps to Adriatic bike route], is now feasible for the most part along a bike path or along local roads with little traffic; only the final stretch (or the first) towards Monfalcone is along a provincial road that is very busy. There are three special points of interest: Aquileia with its basilica and its Roman ruins; Grado and its lagoon; and the estuary and mouth of the Isonzo River.

The route could be taken from Cervignano to Monfalcone or from Monfalcone to Cervignano; when the wind blows from the east the second alternative is certainly a lot easier. The route described here follows GPS trace B from Monfalcone to Cervignano.

Point of departure is the FS train station at Monfalcone on the Venezia-Trieste line. Leave the station, descend to the right until you reach the port area and the naval shipyards and follow the directional arrows to Grado along SP 19 [state road], a very busy road and without a bike lane; this is the least cycle-friendly section of the route.

Upon leaving the village one reaches the bridge over the Isonzo River and a little further along one finds a small road on the left that runs along the Isonzato Canal. After a few km one reaches the sea but hidden from view by an embankment on top of which there is a bike path; take the bike path to the left and you will reach the area around Punta Sdobba; descend here and as an option you can continue along a narrow road as far as a small marina that allows one to see the mouth of the Isonzo in the distance; one can also choose to cross a small bridge next to the marina and then go along a grass path up to the observation tower.

One goes back by getting onto the embankment and getting back on the bike path which follows along the Adriatic Sea, which here is very low and often reduced to nothing more than a marshland between sandbars and shallow waters. The view of the Gulf of Trieste is spectacular as is the view of its city which is also visible in the distance. Eventually the bike path descends from the embankment and continues on a small road along the Averto Canal until reaching Valle Cavanata, a wildlife protected area consisting of lagoons and sandbars and rich with avifauna – birdlife. There are places for observing birds in their natural environment and a visitor center near the lagoon. Here the bike path is unpaved and continues up to rejoining alongside SP 19 as far as the bridge that takes one to the island of Grado. The bike path, now paved, continues alongside SP 19 all the way into the center of Grado.

Grado today is basically a small beach town filled with hotels, beaches and bathing establishments. Yet, there is a historic center of some interest with a small harbor.

One can leave Grado by way of the bridge dam that connects to the mainland; from the large rotary which marks the entrance to the village one needs to get on a short section of roadway and then one finds the new (2012) bike path over the bridge dam; the surface is somewhat gravelly but bikable. From this path one can enjoy a splendid view over the lagoon and the Julian Alps.

Once back on terra firma the bike path continues and takes one near Aquileia, which during ancient Roman times was, along with Patavium (now called Padova), the most important city of the “Venetia” region; it then became a patriarchal seat, but after its destruction by Attila it declined and now it is little more than a farming village scattered around the basilica and the Roman ruins.

The bike path passes by the large patriarchal basilica, then to the entry of the old river port of Aquileia (which can be visited without bike) and to the ruins of the large Roman basilica.

After Aquileia the bike path continues as far as and cuts through Terzo di Aquileia and shortly after one reaches Cervignano del Friuli where there is an FS train station, yet again on the Venezia-Trieste line.

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