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Portogruaro

Enveloped in Venetian charm, Portogruaro is a centre of art lying inland on the Adriatic which oozes with history and elegance, known also as the 'City of the Porticoes'.

The etymology of the city is not clear: it may derive from gru, crane - the marshy areas of the countryside to the east are a destination of many species of these fen-birds - which is also the city's symbol, thus giving support to this theory; or it may come from the Latin gruarius, or 'guardian of the fields'. 'Porto' was affixed later alluding to its historical role.

The city's emergence dates back to 1140, when the Bishop-Count Julia Concordia conceded to the merchants the right to build and trade on territory along on the banks of the Lèmene. Thus later in the 13th century the city walls were erected, and the church, the loggia of the comune, and the castle were built.

Portogruaro quickly became a busy river port, intensifying its activity further when it passed under the auspices of the Venetian Empire in 1420. The rapport between the two was always more of a twinning than a dependance. During this period the parallel porticoes, Renaissance palazzi, commerce centre and a good part of today's face of the city sprang up.

The oldest part of the spirit of Portogruaro is that represented by the Palazzo della Loggia, originating in the 1200s. A splendid edifice of latticework and Ghibilline crenellation with a double row of windows. In the frontal of the Piazza della Repubblica there is a 15th century well-curb with a symbol of two cranes. Behind the loggia there are the ancient fish market and two mills also dating from the 15th century.

Also deserving a visit are the Villa Comunale, the Duomo with its Romanesque belltower and works by Palma il Giovane, and the Museo Nazionale Concordiese.