The history of navigation on the Sile

The River Sile and its tributaries have basins that are designed to switch from one water level to another, either higher or lower. Our journey starts from the navigation basin near the Silea power station, built in 1954 to overcome a 4-metre water jump formed by a “cut” of the river of about 4 kilometres, carried out to power the power plant of a paper mill. A smaller basin is situated on the river Musestre, which is a tributary of the Sile. Today this basin is abandoned but its history takes us back to the times when the waterways were fundamental for the transport of goods and for travel, as it connected the city of Roncade to Venice. Continuing towards Trepalade there is an unused basin between the river Sile and the Siloncello, a canal that flows into the northern lagoon of Venice passing near the disappeared city of Altino, now an archaeological area rich in finds in its museum. After passing Portegrandi, near the Portesine water hole, there is a disused basin that connected the Sile with the Piave river near Fossalta di Piave, allowing the connection between Oderzo and Venice. Continuing beyond the two bends of the river you arrive at the basin of Portegrandi, the first still active, which connects the original mouth to the lagoon thus opening the doors to Torcello and Burano, the two fascinating islands of Venice. From Caposile a small detour takes us to the Piave Vecchia -ancient branch of the river- and then to the basin of Musile di Piave, also known as “Intestadura”, which still plays an important role in navigation between these two rivers. Approaching the sea there is the Cavallino Basin that still connects the Sile with the lagoon of Venice and is another important historical testimony to facilitate navigation without going out into the open sea. The journey through the basins of navigation on the Sile is an experience that offers a lot both from the historical-cultural and from the naturalistic point of view. Thanks to Fiume Sile App you can find them all geolocated on your phone. These hydraulic works testify to a past in which river navigation was essential for the development of Venice and the connection of the territory.



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