Why you will love Chioggia, Italy: 10 excellent reasons for visiting
Travel guide to Chioggia, a pretty Italian town near Venice with a beautiful beach, pretty canals and enchanting Italian charm.
Chioggia is a pretty small town in the northeast of Italy, on the Adriatic Coast close to Venice.
International tourists sometimes know about it as home to one of the best beaches near Venice, Sottomarina, however, not many people come here.
Those who do, however, tend to fall in love with it!
Chioggia is very pretty and just off the beaten path enough to have retained a lot of local charm!
Chioggia is a nice day trip from Venice or a nice place to call home for a couple of nights are you explore the area. This is all you need to know to plan a stay and the best things to do in Chioggia, Italy.
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Where is Chioggia, Chioggia Map, and why you should visit
Chioggia is perched on the southern end of the Venetian lagoon.
The main part of the town is a series of islands connected to each other and to the mainland but roads and bridges.
This geography is similar to that of Venice and indeed, just like Venice, the town has pretty canals, boats and ancient buildings dominating its landscapes.
The result is beautiful. If you are looking for a charming town to visit for a day away from the crowds, Chioggia is a perfect place!
The other reason to visit Chioggia is the beach. Immediately to the east of the city, the locality of Sottomarina is a popular beach destination where you find a large sandy beach.
This is one of the best in the area and a great place to beat the heat in summer, which can be intense in this area.
What to see in Chioggia
Chioggia is a small, beautiful town and the best way to enjoy it is to allow yourself some time, walk around and follow your curiosity.
Chances are even without an itinerary you will quickly see why Chioggia is such a hidden gem. However, if you want to make sure you see the best of Chioggia, the following places and experiences worth seeking out.
Admire Porta Garibaldi
Porta Garibaldi is likely to be the first thing you see if you are arriving in Chioggia by car. It is an ancient door marking the start of Corso Garibaldi, Chioggia’s main street, and it is a nice introduction to the city.
The door now looks like a freestanding arch and used to be the main gate into the city. An info sign tells its story: you won’t spent much time here but if you see it, you will wonder what it is, hence, we include it in this list!
Visit Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta (Chioggia cathedral)
The main church in Chioggia is called Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta and it is worth a stop. The church lies on the remains of a temple dating from the year 1000 however, it gained its current appearance in the XV century.
Inside, it holds paintings by Tiepolo and his disciples.
See Chioggia’s Refugium Peccatorum
Refugium Peccatorum is a statue in Chioggia representing the Virgin holding the Child under a golden canopy. The monument is near the duomo, in a pretty and evocative corner of Chioggia called ‘sagrato’ (the parvis) and it is worth seeing.
In origin, the statue is was in front of the municipality palazzo and people sentences to their death would stop in front of it to say their last prayers – a use somewhat reminiscent of that of the bridge of sights in Venice.
Go shopping or window shopping in Corso del Popolo
Corso Garibaldi is a long street crossing the whole of Chioggia from north to south and it is the town’s main thoroughfare.
The street is pretty and dotted by shops, cafes and restaurants: it is a lovely place for a walk or passeggiata and a great place to grab a bite of shop for Italian souvenirs.
Piazzetta Vigo is on the northernmost shore of Chioggia and is a lovely piazza overlooking the lagoon.
This is where the ferries to Venice and the lagoon depart/arrive and one of the best spots to appreciate the special position Chioggia has.
In the piazza, you will find two things worthy of notice: a tall column with a small statue of St Mark’s Lion and a pretty bridge, Ponte Vigo, dating to 1685 and crossing Canal Vena, one of the most important in town.
Fun fact: the lion on top of the column is referred to as ‘el gato de Ciosa‘ aka Chioggia’s cat!
There are a couple of legends connected to this peculiar namesake.
One of them has its roots in the rivalry between Chioggia and Venice. This version says that the lion is small and poorly made because Chioggia didn’t want to spend money and gave the commission to a poorly skilled scuplture, to save (this is the Venetian version of events!)
Unsurprisingly, the people of Chioggia tell a different story. According to them, the lion is small on purpose, to mock the powers of Venice, of which the lion is the symbol
A third explanation is that the statue was damaged by the incursions of the French after the fall of Venice.
Whatever version you decide to go by, make sure you don’t miss it: it is a Chioggia must see!
Go on a boat tour
One of the best ways to enjoy Chioggia and the lagoon is with a boat tour. You can hop on one in Piazza Vigo and you usually can get tickets on the day, right at the port.
Go to the fish market
Since Chioggia is on the lagoon, it has a great fishing tradition and equally great market where to buy the catch on the day.
You can see fish stalls in Mercato Ittico al Minuto (individual purchases) or you can see the pros in Mercato Ittico All’ingrosso (retailer market).
The Mercato Ittico al Minuto (Peschiera) is wonderful if you are staying in self-catering accommodation and want to make dinner yourself with the freshest fish and seafood Chioggia has to offer. This is a lovely market to visit if you are curious about an authentic market in Italy.
Visit a museum
Chioggia has some museums that can be nice to visit if you have a little longer in town or if you need refuge from the rain. Good ones to consider are:
Museo della Torre dell’Orologio (Clock tower museum): this one develops over 7 floors inside the town’s clock tower. At the top, you can see the incredible clock mechanism and catch stunning views of the lagoon.
Zoology museums: this is a museum about the marine life of the Adriatic, suitable for kids and with tours led by a marine. Official site here
Museo della Laguna Sud: a local museum with archeological and ethnographic findings from the lagoon area. The official site is here.
Eat and eat and eat some more
Chioggia has a great culinary tradition and many restaurants and osterie where to indulge in the best it has to offer. Foods not to be missed here are fish and seafood, especially sarde in saor (fish starter, typical food of the Veneto region) radicchio chioggiotto (Chioggia’s radicchio), broeto (fish soup), and schie (fish) with or without polenta.
Visit Sottomarina beach
Sottomarina is just beside Chioggia, on the other side of the bridge towards the open lagoon and it is Chioggia’s strand.
People come here for a day on its sandy beach but also for a walk along the water and aperitivo with sea views: this is a great place for a spritz that, let’s not forget, was born in this area!
Where to stay in Chioggia
Chioggia has a good selection of places to stay.
Hotel Grande Italia – in a fantastic position close to Piazza Vigo, with lovely views over the lagoon. Close to the ferry port, excellent if you don’t want to drag your luggage across town.
B&B Antico Orologio – lovely family run B&B in a fantastic location in Chioggia center.
El Capitan del Mar – lovely apartment with canal views, family friendly.
How to get to Chioggia
You can get to Chioggia by car, bus, train and ferry.
By car, you will find parking at:
- Museo Civico di Chioggia – large parking, close to the city center
- Isola dell’Unione, a good place to park and reach both Chioggia center and Sottomarina
- Zona Saloni, also equipped with a covered parking lot
- During the fish festival (Sagra del pesce), you need to leave the car immediately outside the town and use the park+ride option.
- Parkig for campervans is on Via Granatieri di Sardegna
By bus, you can opt for the easy and direct connection from Venezia Piazzale Roma to Chioggia
By train, you will get off at Chioggia station, on the main line Rovigo-Chioggia
By Ferry, you can catch boats from Venice to Lido and then from Lido to Chioggia.
I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of Chioggia and it made you want to visit. Safe travel planning!