Sand dunes at the Alberoni

Oasi AlberoniThe sand dunes at the Alberoni have been protected by the World Wildlife Fund since 1997.  It covers an area of 160 hectares and is located at the extreme southern point of the Island of Lido, after the small district known as Malamocco.
It comprises 2 kms of dunes that extend from the Murazzi to the dyke or pier at the Alberoni and from which grows a pine forest of 30 hectares. It is an important eco-natural habitat where a large avifauna chooses to live and hibernate.

Once there was only sea here.  In 1800 the water reached the old Alberoni Fort where the golf club can now be found.  The beach formed in 1872 after a dyke was built at the northern part of the mouth of Malamocco.  Sea currents, moving  anticlockwise to the dyke accumulated a huge amount of sand. The wind, called the bora, coming from the north-east finished the job and resulted in the large dunes that are now home to a native flora-fauna habitat without rival on the Venetian coast.
On the coastal hinterland there is a mix of different environs:Dal mare verso l'interno l'area si caratterizza per il susseguirsi di diversi ambienti psammofili:
The bare beach, the moveable dunes with their anchoring vegetation and a fauna typically Mediterranean. There are the more internal dunes protected from the winds with arid grasslands and a flora typical of that of a steppe.  Then there are the low intermediate dune where a more humid vegetation grows.  To finish, there is the pine forest created by a reforestation of land after the war and now run by the Regional Forest Service.

In this flora and fauna, one of the best conserved in the northern Adriatic, there lives an ecosystem originating from the Adriatic coast and that has been studied by the best botanists such as Beguinot, Marcello e Pignatti.

Native species, typical of the northern part of theAdriatic coast dominate the dunes.  There are:
  • The sparto pungente whose name means ‘sand lover’.  It is a perrenial plant coming from the Graminacee family.  It grows in thick bushes with prickly branches and long, deep roots capable of absorbing water.  There is also the medica marina characterised by creeping stems and covered in a dense hairlike growth.  Its flowers are an intense yellow colour;
  • The zigolo delle sabbie, a close relation to the papyrus;
  • The moss - Tortula ruralis;
  • The fiordaliso di Tommasini;
  • The apocino veneziano.

The wooded area of ordinary and maritime pines is being reconverted into a broad-leaved forest of mixed species:  holm oak, sessile oak and manna ash and a spontaneous growth of white poplar.  Orchids are also on show such as the cefalantera maggiore and the ofride fior d'ape.
The avi-fauna is brimmingwith life such as the bee eater, Kentish plover and little tern the nest even on the beach.  In internal parts of the dunes one can find the twilight loving succiacapre with its suggestive night song, the golden oriole, the red woodpecker, the common owl, the scops owl and the l'occhiocotto, the canapino and the black bunting. Among the birds of prey are the nesting sparrowhawk, the kesstrel. 
The pecchiaiolo and pilgrim falcons have been sighted and also the brown kite.  Reptiles and anphibians are also present, among them the rat snake, the field lizaard and the emerald toad.  Mammals present are the hedgehog, mouse and crocidura minore.
Protection constraints: Fauna preservation area; site of importance to the community (SIC) according to the UE law 92/43; protected by land laws D.lgs 42/2004 (already law "Galasso"); PALAV; The wooded area is under hydrogeological constraints. 
Run by: Veneto World Wildlife Fund and the Venice city council with the province;  the pine woods are run by the Regional Forest Service of Treviso and Venice.

Useful Information

The area can be freely visited all year.  To see flowering plants and to observe fauna, spring and autumn are best viewing periods.
Telephone: WWF Veneto 041/971384, Natural Observatory of the Lagoon Venice region tel. 041-2759567
E-mail: alberoni@wwf.it
How to get there: from Venice take water bus Actv (lines 1 - 51 - 61) as far as last stop Lido.  From boat stop at Santa Maria Elisabetta on Lido take road bus (Line A) as far as the Alberoni;  from Chioggia take line 11 ferry+bus+carferry.


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