Some 11km south of Aquileia, isolated among lagoons, is the ancient island-town of GRADO, through which Aquileia once traded with Syria, Cyprus, Arabia and Asia Minor. Grado enjoyed its heyday under the Austrians who developed it as a health resort due to the presence of curative waters – and you can still take a cure here. It’s worth seeking out Grado’s historic centre, for its three early-Christian buildings, grouped close together in the heart of a miniature network of old streets.
For relaxing on the beach, this is one of the best places in the northern Adriatic; the water is safe and warm as a bath, and almost as shallow – indeed, the name of the town comes from the gentle angle of its shore. The free beaches are at the eastern and western ends; if you want a locker, deckchair and shower facilities, you have to pay a few euros to one of the businesses on the Lungomare Adriatico.