Alberoni

White beach of Alberoni

Alberoni are a pristine stretch of beach, pine forest and Sand Dunes of absolute beauty. The coasts of the Adriatic represents the remaining deployment of dunes that defined since Roman times the extended system of lagoons from the Po Delta until the Venice Lagoon, continuing up to the valleys of Caorle and the lagoons of Marano and Grado.

The coast has a length of about two kilometers from Murazzi to the dam with at east the basin of the Venice lagoon. The nucleus of the oasis, pine forest and dunes did not exist until 1800, the sea lapped the old Fort Alberoni, now inside the golf course.

The beach of Alberoni was formed in 1872 with the completion of the dam to the north of the mouth of Malamocco. Near this imposing building anticlockwise ocean currents has accumulated in a few decades huge amounts of sand. The wind, especially the Bora wind from the north-east, has shaped the system of dunes among the best preserved of the Adriatic, where the typical vegetation of the venetian coastal grows up.

Flora

The beach is almost a desert in miniature, is characterized by difficult conditions: high temperature, aridity of the sandy soil and the saltiness of the sea winds. Here survives species that have adapted to this habitat. On the dunes, the ravastrello marittimo (Cakile marittima), the Italian burr, the Salsola, fennel and gramigna (Elytrigia juncea) which forms the first dunes.

In the area is clearly visible the Ammophila littoralis, whose name means “fond of sand”. This grass with dense units consolidates the mobile dunes, thanks to strong and deep roots capable of absorbing the water and retain the sand. In some areas, on repair from the wind, there is the Medicago marina, the Eringium maritimum and the Cyperus Kalli, akin to the papyrus.

The older “gray dunes” are covered with carpets of moss (Tortula Ruralis) and steppe grasslands with vedovelle beaches, yellow Fumane and some rare species such as the cornflower of Tommasini (Centaurea tommasinii), endemism of the Northern Adriatic, and Trachomitum venetum, both at risk of extinction.

Within the woodland area, in majority of stone pine, (Pinus pinea) and maritime pine (Pinus pinaster), there are dunes and arid grasslands having a superficial aquifer. Here you can see the wetlands with reed of Ravenna, black rush, rush of Tommasini (Juncus littoralis), Epipactis palustris, and juniper, in the form of a tree. In the shaded areas, there are some orchids including red cephalanthera, greater cephalanthera and the rare ophrys (Ophrys apifera), In some wetlands areas, the Cladium mariscus with long and cutting edge leaves has spread.

Fauna

Under the algae or pieces of wood can be found three endangered beetles insects: Scaritus laevigatus, Palera bimaculata and Xantomus pallidus. Clearly visible on the sandy shore are kentish plover (charadrius alexandrinus), which nests in the middle of the sand, and the sterna albifrons hunting for fish on the sea in front. During migration you can spot the sea eurasian woodcock.

Important is also the presence of colourful european bee-eater (Meropos apiaster) that comes from Africa to nest in summer time on the high dunes. Two birds of prey, the eurasian sparrowhawk and the common kestrel, vaulting in open areas. In the most internal areas of pine forest, nest two passerine, sardinian warbler and cirl bunting, but especially the rare european nightjar, active at dawn or at sunset when he/she makes heard his/her sing or flies showing off like a hawk.

In wooded areas, the golden oriole and the great spotted woodpecker, while occasionally you can view the green woodpecker and hoopoe. Among the nightly birds of prey: the long-eared owl and the eurasian scops-owl. In areas with fresh water and in the moat of Batteria Rocchetta (defensive system of the venetian lagoon), we find more characteristic species of wetlands such as the kingfisher, the little egret and the eurasian bittern.

About reptiles of the dunes areas: the green whip snake and the country lizard, while in more internal humid areas among amphibians: european tree frog and the european green toad which is typical of the Venetian coastal but extremely rare at Lido due to the bury of ditches and channels.

Habitat of the Dunes

The coastal area includes a vast morphological system: mobile dunes, consolidated dunes covered with grasslands and wetlands. Proceeding inwards there is an extended part of sand dunes with Ammophila littoralis – until the high dunes with xerica vegetation.

The pine forest to the south-west, made in the postwar period, measures about thirty hectares with stone pine and maritime pine. The Oasis extendes towards the golf course and includes the nineteenth-Battery Rocchetta area, surrounded by a moat and woods with populus alba. The dunes near the bathing resort, with their 8/10 meters in height, are among the largest in the upper Adriatic.

In the north-west, behind the historic murazzo Zendrini, prototype of a sea defense of the Venetian Republic, extends the area “Valmarana”, an important ecological corridor between the sea and the lagoon with a typical brackish wetlands vegetation.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variety of life forms such as plants and animals present in the ecosystem of planet Earth. The ecosystems biodiversity is related to the different environments in which life is present: forest, barrier reef, wetlands and high mountain grasslands. The disappearance of these areas involves a risk of extinction of the species that live in. Plants, in addition to being the only oxygen source on our planet, have a key role in the balance of water and other gases. The life of all species on earth, including humans, is possible thanks to the so-called “services” provided by ecosystems. Supply services: food, water, wood and fiber. Regulatory services: climate stabilisation, water balance, barrier to the spread of diseases and absorption of waste products. Protect, therefore, a small area such as the Alberoni Dunes or the Venetian Lagoon is not just a local right, but also involves the global aspect of biological life conservation on planet Earth.