The wide façade is characterized by 3 portals on the ground floor and by Venetian inspired windows. The original heart of the present palace had two gothic windows, brick stairway and was topped by elegant ghibelline battlements. The enlargement was carried out in 1552 using recuperated materials from the demolished Bishop’s castle. Two side parts were harmoniously added to the original central building.
At the foot of the façade there are 17th century figures that are perhaps river gods.
This palace is a fine example of 15th century architecture inspired by Venetian design. The three large Gothic arcades support two floors, the second of which was probably added later, divided by two elegant terracotta cornices. The palace has extensive traces of 16th century fresco decoration.
The building is attributed to the architect Guglielmo d’Alzano known as "Il Bergamasco"(1480-1550) and it is characterized by a wise and well-proportioned distribution of full and empty spaces. On the first floor there are arches, which correspond to a row of Venetian style windows in the Loggia. The building is the seat of some offices, of the municipal library and of the Paleontologic Museum "Michele Gortani". Between the side of the palace and the adjacent late 17th century chapel is the entrance gate to the park
The Belltower of the Cathedral, simple in it forms, is the highest building of Portogruaro and it can be seen from any position of the town. It was my conductor in exploring the town.
The belltower is of particular interest, locals call it "campanile pendente" - leaning church tower.
The town of Portogruaro have maintained the original layout of the historical part with her two principal streets running parallel, on opposite banks of the river Lemene.
The town was originally girded by a wall with five gateways, of which three still exist. This one is San Agnese or Torre Santa Agnese as called by the locals.
The Lemene river flows in the middle of the town. For centuries, it played a very important part in the economical life of the town, with several watermills running. Now, it brings a strip of coolness and pleasant landscape for the citizen and the (too) few visitors.
The Cathedral, called Duomo di Sant'Andrea, has very simple facade like all other churches I have seen in the town. There is no decoration at all on the front facade and the portal is small and very simple. However, the Cathedral is worth an attentive visit because of its artworks.
At the turn of the 19th century, there were several mills on the Lemene river, for olives, for wheat, etc… After ceasing their original function at the beginning of the 20th century, some were destroyed but the Old Mill has been kept and is now used to house art exhibitions.
These ones are more of a Romanesque style and look older. So many archways of various styles give a special character to the city of Portogruaro. Archways are found nearly everywhere in Europe but their distribution is amazing and seems to match somehow the extension of the Roman Empire. In France; few in Paris, a lot in Metz, none in Strasbourg, a few in Lyon, a lot in Chambéry and Annecy, none in Grenoble, none in Marseille. None in Geneva but they can be seen in several smaller cities of the canton of Geneva and Vaud. In northern Italy they are present in most cities. In Croatia, as far as I remember, none except a few in Dubrovnik. I will have to look for a survey on the distribution of archways in Europe as that puzzles me.
In Portogruaro, when you walk across the town in July, you understand very quickly that these archways allow to stroll in the shade and have a cooler time that if you had to walk under the sun ! But there are cities with a lot of archways where the sun is not that hot ! For example, Metz in France.
The church of Santa Agnese is situated outside the old core of the town and the area which use to be surrounded by the town walls. It is the oldest church in the town and date back to the 13th century. Adjacent to the church there is Oratorio della Visitazione, and its lovely cycle of religious frescoes.
The square in front of the Town Hall is a very hot place in July and the palm trees feel perfectly at ease. No wonder if, opposite to the Town Hall, there are again archways ! Anyway, in the very end of the morning, there was nobody wandering besides ourselves !
I've started my exploring of the town entering through Torre Santa Agnese and Via Cavour. My first impression about the town was it looks like miniature Venice because the houses along river Lemene have double entrances, from both street and the river.
When approaching to Villa Comunale I heard strong noise of the water and that brought me to the most attractive sight of the town; Watermills and Pescheria.
Pescheria was old fish market and it looks very attractive, in fact, too attractive foe that purpose.
I passed old stone bridge acrros the river Lemene to get to the Pescheria which is situated on its left bank. There is beautiful wooden Oratory in Pescheria dedicated to the Virgin Mary, locals call it "Madonnina della Pescheria" or "Oratorio dedicato alla Madonna". Don't miss it!
Often, the road side of houses is beautiful, carved and ornamented but the rear is plain and mean. Interestingly, in Portogruaro, even the rear of the houses has been treated in the same way as the front side, which adds to the quality of the sight.