The Memory’s Path
The Memory’s Path is an itinerary that winds through a wooded plain landscape of the lagoon hinterland where water, vegetation and history cross. Thus you discover the charm of a territory that has seen the founding of the Roman colony of Altino, the rise of the Venetian Republic with the realization of waterways between Treviso and the Lagoon and eventually the works of the great reclamation.
The starting point is the center of Quarto d’Altino where you take the Via Claudia Augusta, the ancient Roman road that, starting from the Adriatic Sea and crossing the Alps, led to the Danube region in Germany.
From where it meets the river Zero, a dirt track follows the winding left bank up to the confluence with the river Dese and the Canal of Santa Maria.
Now at the edge of the Venetian lagoon, you arrived at the site of the town of Altino, an ancient Paleovenetian settlement that after the Roman conquest in the II century B.C. became a flourishing commercial port of call thanks to its strategic position on the lagoon border.
Through the evidences preserved in the National Archaeological Museum and annexed archaeological area, it is possible to get a sense of what life in the ancient colony could have been.
Continuing north along Via S. Eliodoro you will bump into the river Sile; following its course you will reach the hamlet of Portegrandi. Here the 17th century lock allowed inland access to the boats from the lagoon towards Treviso and vice versa.
Going back along the right bank of the Sile, continue until you reach the natural Oasis of Trepalade. Open to the public since the early 1990s and part of the River Sile Regional Natural Park, the Oasis preserves one of the last original Venetian countryside areas, creating a protected environment for small mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds.
Finally, following the alzaia, the towpath along the river bank where oxen used to pull boats upstream and now transformed into a cycle-pedestrian path, you return to Quarto d’Altino.
The conca or vaso (lock) of Portegrandi, built in the second half of the 17th century and in activity until the 1960s, is the ancient lagoon gateway that allowed (and controlled) the exchanges with the hinterland towards Treviso.
A river lock is a reservoir regulated by two sluices that allows to overcome an altitude difference of a river or canal. The opening and closing of the locks allows the control of the water level inside the lock itself, and thus boats can be raised and lowered at the watercourse.
Opened in 1960 and then expanded in 2014, the National Archaeological Museum of Altino is located next to the wide archaeological site of Altino, Roman town at the margin of the Venetian lagoon.
On the ground floor there are samples of prehistoric finds from the lagoon area and of protohistoric finds of the Venetian settlements, with reconstructions of some burials. The first floor is dedicated to evidences of the Romanization period and of the full Roman settlement development, when the colony had more than 30.000 inhabitants. The exhibition is completed with a section on the emporical sanctuary discovered in Fornace and on the late antique history.
Outside, in the garden, five funerary fences have been reconstructed and also two monumental mausoleums, revoking the rich funeral monuments once along the consular roads that crossed the region, the Via Annia and the Via Claudia Augusta.