Sunday, August 9, 2009

Seaside in Caorle

Gazing out at the gray skies, I checked the weather forecast. With a prediction of only mostly cloudy skies, we headed off to the beach in Caorle (pronounced Kah-orh-lay). Avoiding the autostrada and tollways, we took a ride along the road with the river snaking alongside. Boats were moored all up and down the river.

Arriving in Caorle, we could see this was the "it" spot on a Sunday in August, when Italians are famous for closing up shop and just going on vacation. The streets were packed with people walking and biking to the beach, out for Sunday morning strolls, and enjoying the shops and restaurants in this seaside town.

The Cathedral of St. Stephen is the most important monument of Caorle; built in 1038, it is a particular example of Romanesque and Byzantine-Ravennate style. Sunday morning mass was in service so we did not venture inside. Outside, the characteristic bell tower, of 1048, rises to a height of 48 meters (and leans in the style of the Leaning Tower of Pisa). It has a cylindrical structure and it is surmounted by a cone-shaped cusp, that makes it unique in the world. The bell tower can be visited Monday - Thursday at 9pm.

Walking from the Cathedral to the Blessed Virgin of the Angel Church along the cobbled walkway, take heed of the carvings in the large rocks. You will see everything from the Blessed Mother and baby Jesus to fish, turtles, and dolphins carved into the boulders.
Rounding the corner of the church, the 15 kilometer long beach stretches out in front of you dotted with thousands of umbrellas. Some people are lounging, some flying kites, and others boating. We picked out spot of sand and relaxed a bit before taking a dip in the Adriatic, which was quite cool today!
With the sun being evasive and having spent about 2 1/2 hours at the beach, we packed up our beach blanket and decided to stroll around town. After checking out the beach front hotels and bed and breakfasts, we headed past the cemetery and soccer field where the narrow streets open up into a bustling piazza. Here you could find everything from touristy little shops selling beach towels and umbrellas to clothing and jewelry. There is also no shortage of restaurants, cafes, and gelatarias.

We came across the Ristorante Alla Squero who had spaghetti con vongole on the menu, so I was sold! With a friendly buon giorno, we selected an outside table. I, of course, had the spaghetti con vongole (spaghetti with little neck clams steamed in white wine and butter) which was delicious!
Of course, with 10 minutes to spare on our parking slip and housework to be done at home, the sun finally made an appearance. Oh, well. With Caorle only about 1 hour away, I am sure we will be back before the summers end.