The first mention of settlements on the island dates trom the beginning of the IX century when King Pepin tried to invaade Venice but was defeated. On 29 June 965 Hungarian invaders were defeated in Pellestrina right on the spot where the church of S. Pietro stands today, since it was built on purpose to commemorate that victorious day. After the War of Chioggia, during which Pellestrina was destroyed, ire town was rebuilt by the four families Busetto, Vianello. Zennaro and Scarpa, whose names are linked to the four “sestiers” or districts which still charaterize the island today. After varying vicissitudes during which Pellestrina was a separate Municipality, it was finally incorporated into the Municipality of Venice in 1923.
1 – San Pietro in Volta
After S. Maria del Mare with its ruined tower, we come to San Pietro in Volta with its characteristic fishing harbour. Suirounded by low fishermen’s cottages, by few larger houses. by market gardens and vineyards, stands the parish church dedicated to St. Peter which was rebuilt in 1777 on the site of a previous VII century church and was completed in 1844 with a Neoclassical fagade. The one-naved interior and the frescoes on the rib-vaulted ceiling date from the middle of the XIX century. The XVIII century organ is attributed to Gaetano Callido.
2 – Portosecco
The Church of Santo Stefano, rebuilt in 1646. holds the relics of the saint; it was enlarged and restructured in 1884 in Neoclassical style. The domed bell-tower is typical. The interior has one nave. The XVIII century altar-piece on the high altar depicts the martyrdom of St. Stephen. On summer evenings today you can still see a few local women sitting outside their front doors overlooking the lagoon and working away at the noble art of pillow-lace, or some old men repairing the fishing nets. This is a longstanding tradition, to work and live for many hours each day in the area in front of one’s own home.
3 – Pellestrina
There are no fewer than three churces and two oratories along the Pellestrina coast. If you take the road running alongside the lagoon, amid market gardens and vineyards, admiring the XVI-XVII century buildings that are typical of island architecture, you come to the Church of S. Antonio, built at the beginning of the XVIII century on the site of a preexisting XVII century oratory. The interior has one nave. Further along we find the Tempio Votivo dell’ Apparizione, built by Andrea Tirali in 1718; it is octagonal with two towers. The temple holds an ancient miraculous image of the Virgin Man: in particular we remember the Apparition of the Virgin in 1716 to a box. announcing the victory of the Serenissima against the Turks. Adjacent to it stands the Monastery of SS. Vito e Modesto, now in a state of neglect.
4 – The Ca’ Roman Nature Reserve
The Ca’ Roman beach is located to the extreme south of the Venetian lagoon. With the characteristic vegetation of its dunes, the area is one of the very few coastal environments not to have been taken over by seaside settlements. However, Ca’ Roman is above all of great naturalistic interest because of the colonies of shore birds, plovers and little terns, which return there every year to nest from the beginning of April until mid July.