Sottomarina lies to the extreme south of the Venetian lagoon, where originally there was a narrow strip of land separating the lagoon from the sea, limited to the south by the mouth of the Brenta-Bacchiglione and to the north reaching out to the present Port of San Felice.
At first the built up area was limited to the strip of land going from the port to the present old market, facing the Lusenzo Lagoon. The canals running along the lagoon part of Sottomarina and their banks were called LOVARIVA and RIVA.
On a small island near the built up area there was a castle with a tall tower, "Buon Castello"; from here a bridge crossing
the Lusenzo Canal reached the island of San Domenico and Chioggia.
During Chioggia's War (1379-1380) Sottomarina was completely destroyed; it was uninhabited and with no sea defence
for a long time, so it was regularly subject to floods. Reconstruction, at that time prohibited also by the Senate of the Republic, took place only about the middle of 1700; in order to defent the town and make it more stable the "murazzi" were built: a massive wall set up along the littoral separating the sea from the lagoon. They are made of square blocks of Istria stone, erected on a bed of pebbles and piles stretching along 4027 metres on Pellestrina littoral and along 1270 metres on Sottomarina littoral; they emerge for about 4.5 matres on the tidemark and at the basis they are about 14 metres wide. At that time it was an impressive work: their building took 38 years (from 1744 to 1781) and required huge economic
They lost their function at the end of the 19th century, when the Brenta was deviated to the south of Chioggia, but even today they are astonishing for their impressiveness.
SI CONSIGLIA di visitare il tratto che va da via San Marco a San Felice.
YOU ARE ADVISED to visit the stretch going from via San Marco to san Felice.
Once most of Sottomarina inhabitants worked in market gardens. Also the structure of the town (with its houses separated one from the other by small brick walls, the courtyards used as plots of land for family use and the square of St. Martin's church employed for wheat threshing) shows the deep agricultural roots of the population.
The fertility of coast market gardens favoured the cultivation of a lot of vegetables for years. A typical product of Chioggia is Chioggia’s radicchio rosso, called "Chioggia's rose", a kind of red lettuce of round shape, with a central white nervation.
Some history of the beach
Today we live in this gorgeous environment, rich of bathing establishments, camping sites, service flats and docks, but we may wonder: HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN?
The man who launched Sottomarina's tourism and beaches was a doctor from Sottomarina at about the end of the 19th century. It all began when he invited a group of friends to his seaside house; at once they were enthusiastic about the
place and started spreading the news among people in Padua. Within a few years the first bathers arrived in Sottomarina; they were attracted by the idea of spending a relaxing holiday in a healthy place. The first bathing establishment was near present Viale Venezia: it was Bagno Margherita, built in wood and supported by piles, with a terrace and a restaurant
where people used to dance and eat water ice. The establishment was successful and immediately afterwards Bagni Clodia (bearing that name still today) were built, and then Bagni Excelsior and Bagni Nettuno; so the tourist development of the area began.
CURIOSITIY: it may be nice and curious to know that in the place of the present car parks lying near the beaches, made visible by standard signs (P), once there were the "STALI", also built near the beach to host the carriages and horses by which the first bathers reached Sottomarina; a day fare was paid for the custody of the means of transport and of the animals, and the standard sign used to indicate the presence of a parking place was a sheaf of straw fixed on the top of a pole.