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Cycling in the great area of reclaimed land of Eraclea

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Eraclea's recent past, which spans the last 100 years, is closely linked to the great operation of land drainage and reclamation.
Before this, it had also undergone another change: originally called 'Grisolera' meaning the place where marsh reeds are cultivated to make 'arelle' (trellises for enclosing the fish farms), the name was replaced by the more noble Eraclea, which is the ltalian for Heraclia. The 'redemption of the land from unhealthy malaria-ridden marshes', a drainage programme which affected almost the entire district of the commune, began in the large estates of the subcoastal belt and it bears the names of a few great pioneers of the most important transformation of the environment to occur in the Veneto flat lands this century.
The cycle-tour in the Grande Bonifica' (Great Reclaimed Area) leads to the discovery of vast horizons and reveals the results of the huge works carried out by the navvies, the real heroes of the redemption', the enormity of which can never be stressed enough. lt offers you the chance to admire sweeping fertile land and imposing pumping stations, but most important of all, vast, windy skies.

 

Route: Torre di Fine, Ponte La Spiga, Canale Terzo (Terzo Canal), Idrovora Brian (pumping station), Tezzon,Valle Salici, Senzielli, La Spiga, Torre di Fine
Departure: Torre di Fine
Distance: 19 km
Duration: 2 hrs15'
Note: Long stretches are on unsurfaced country tracks


From the little square in front of the Church of Torre di Fine, bear left and ride along beside a large drainage canal which flows to the nearby pumping station, where the little rural community sprung up.

Cross the small bridge which spans the watercourse and takes you to a tiny cemetery; at this point, the surrounding landscape opens out onto enormous prarie-like fields which blur into the horizon.

The occasional share-cropper's house lies derelict in the distance.
After about two kilometres, you come to a crossroads where you turn right, crossing the bridge which leads to the farm Agenzia rurale 'La Spiga'. You then take a right (into Via Valle Tagli) and skirt the orchards of the farm estate, along a rough, unsurfaced track.

Soon you come to a second bridge, which crosses a branch of the drainage canal you followed at the beginning.

At the other side, bear left to head north-east beside the watercourse where you encounter one of the most interesting stretches of the route.

The scenery of the heroic Grande Bonifica, which dates back to the end of the nineteenth century, extends towards distant horizons.

 

Share-croppers' dwellings, long rows of trees, a large, isolated tree here and there, farms, ditches, orchards and great prairie-like expanses of cultivated land merge together, and on the Tenuta Romiati (Romiati estate) they are interspersed with woodlands to form a charming and unique rural scenery.

Giorgio Romiati created this landscape eighty years ago and it still manages to hold out against the transformation process of the last decade.
You will then come to the intersection with the Ponte del Capitello-Caorle B road, which you have to cross to get to the imposing Idrovora del Termine (Termine pumping station).

This brick building looks somewhat like a castle and exalts the Bonifica with the typical grandeur of the fascist regime (1922-1943)The surrounding environrnent is picturesque and enchanting; the great pumping station, the cypress trees, the splendid Livenza Morta canal (or Canale Brian), the fishermen's huts made of marsh reeds, the overrun gardens of the old, derelict schools of Brian join together in a dance which has not changed since the turn of the century.

Turn left at the pumping station onto a straight metalled lane which follows the Livenza Morta canal, passing the little church called the Pollastrona, and the elegant Agenzia Romiati farmhouse, which is surrounded by a large estate where mulberry-trees, swamp cypress and white poplars stand tall.

 

Go straight on, leaving to your right the road bridge which leads to Caorle, to follow the bend of the Agenzia Tezzon estate, which is flanked by a loop in the canal and enjoys the leafy shade of a holm oak and an age-old laurel.

You continue until you come out onto the Ponte del Capitello-Caorle B road; follow this road and in less than two kilometres you get to a crossroads where you turn left into via Valle Salici and head south along a straight lane.

Once again, the magnificent pictorial scenery of the reclaimed land is breathtaking; words cannot describe the sheer beauty of dawn and sunset over this uninhabited arable wilderness.

Having crossed the bridge, Ponte Tre Cai, which is located at a characteristic confluence of watercourses, ride on for another kilometre as far as a little church where you bear right along an unsurfaced track.

Once you have passed the few houses huddled around the little church, the scenery again becomes flat and remote, where the everchanging and bright sky is the protagonist. One kilometre further on, you come to via Senzielli, an unsurfaced track which runs along the embankment of a small, winding, suspended stream.

Go towards the left and you will find yourself in a landscape whose horizons vanish into infinity.

A lone Lombardy poplar, or a little cluster of them, occasionally breaks the flatness, taking turns with leafy and equally rare black poplars which bear witness to houses no longer there.

 

These are the only elements which highlight the depth of field of a rural landscape which, with the share-croppers cottages demolished and buried, seems to have lost all sense of perspective.

After the great bends in the small natural stream, which has been exploited by the Bonifica, the route skirts the orchards of the Tenuta 'La Spiga' (farm) and takes you to a metalled road (via Sette Casoni).

Turn left and you ride along beside a collection ditch, a deep gully cut into the bed of what used to be swampland. Soon you come to the farm buildings which are arranged around a quadrangle (used as a threshing-floor) and a bridge near the gates to 'La Spiga' farm.

Take another right onto the stretch of road where you retrace your route. Just a little further, and then the excursion concludes in the little square (piazzetta) of Torre di Fine, built in recent years after a covering over of the historical 'porte di navigazione' (navigation locks) next to the pumping station.

 

 

 

Credits and Bibliography: Everything reported on this page (textes) is derived, as per kind accordance of the publisher, from the guide 'JESOLO ERACLEA...in bici tra bonifiche e laguna' - Michele Zanetti author - from the Guide Collection PEDALAFACILE, by the Publishing House ACHAB snc
of Mogno Michele & C., via E. Ferrari, 15 30037 - Scorzè - VE
tel +39 041 5845003
fax +39 041 5845007

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