Important road and rail junction, lively trade, craft and tertiary centre, Portogruaro
has wide historic and artistic interest so much so as to be a "must" for
visitors just passing through. Even the most demanding
tourist will be satisfied. This small town preserves in its historical centre its original
town plan, really enjoyable for its elegance, for the particular Venetian influence of its
palaces and the enchanting views on the Lemene river. It is impossible to define the
origin of the settlement. The first documentation is a concession dating from 986 with
which Emperor Otto III allowed the Bishop of Concordia dominion of the territory. Already
in the 10th century a fortified castle should have existed on the right bank of
the river. This was built by the Bishops of Concordia as their residence, not feeling
protected enough among the ruins of the ancient Roman town. This primitive settlement
steadily grew from 1140 when the Bishop Gervino gave a part of the left bank of the Lemene
in order to establish a port with relevant commercial facilities. Since it was founded,
Portogruaro belonged to the area of political dominion of Aquileia, which also included
Concordia. But the traders, who had greatly contributed to the development of the town,
soon started to demand political independence and gradually entered the area of Venetian
During the 14th century the patriarch tried to keep political control of the
city, but because of the particular situation of the Aquileia Patriarchate which was
divided by civil strife and attacked by the German Emperors from the North, Venice entered
the fray and after many events advanced on the Patriarchal State.
From this moment Portogruaro followed the Venetian republics destiny, until 1797
(Campoformido Treaty) getting further important trade privileges reaching during the 15th
and the 16th centuries its maximum splendour and the peak of artistic and
The 17th century marked the economic decline of the town. The enormous farming
increase was fundamental for the economic revival of the area, thanks to the reclamation,
which started during the last decades of the 19th century and terminated
following the Second World War. This work enabled farming to be carried out throughout the
whole coastal area.
Nowadays Portogruaro is an important trade centre again, in particular in the public and
The entrance to the city is the 13th century St. John
Gate, rebuilt in the 16th century.
A short way off St. Johns church, built in 1338,
houses a marble statue ("Madonna with child"), first half of the 14th
century; an altar piece with apostles and saints by Leandro da Ponte, Jacopo da
Bassanos son, a Fresco on the Presbytery vault ("Triumph of Eucharist") by
Andrea Urbani. The 18th century chapel dedicated to "our lady of
sorrows", object of popular devotion, is evocative. The town
hall built in brick fašade is a characteristic gothic building with an outside
corner stair and small bell gable. Next to the town hall, you can have a look at the
"small well of cranes", symbol of the city.
Behind the town hall there is the fishmarket with its loggia and the small oratory built by the fishermen of Caorle, evident testimony
of the citys past dock activities.
One of the most charming and striking characteristics is that of the watermill
on the Lemene river, built by Bishop Feletto in 1477.
The Cathedral with its leaning tower is interesting. Among the many and remarkable town
palaces are the Muschietti, Moro and Imposte, De Goetzen Palace,
Dal Moro Palace, the Villa Comunale whose elegance and
Renaissance style can be admired. The inside houses the fascinating Paleonthologic Museum "Michele Gortani".