Left the town of Stra, the race course of VeniceMarathon continues along the Naviglio del Brenta for about twenty kilometres, running across the town of Dolo and all the districts overlooking the Brenta river.
You will enjoy the views of Brenta’s landscapes, the villas and not only. At 5 km from the start you will be in Dolo, an interesting city deeply connected to Venice.
Since the 15th century, there has been a strong development of this territory, first of all due to the need for Venice to find new ways to improve its market after the loss of power of Venetian trade occurred with the fall of the Byzantine empire, with the assertion of Turkish power and the beginning of trade with America.
In 1507 a powerful artificial canal was opened: it diverted southernmost part of the river to lighten the Brenta terminal. The water flowing to Dolo was, however, constant so in 1543 it was decided to build Molini (places used for the production of flour).
Molini became the largest economic resource of the Serenissima Republic. For centuries this place has been used from the great noble families and then become a State property. Thanks to the work of private citizens who subsidized the restoration, Molini returned to their ancient splendor. Today they are used as pubs (not to be confused with refreshment points!).
Near Molini, to demonstrate the importance of Brenta and the trade developed on it, it was built the sixteenth-century “Squero“, the old yard or covered port where the boats that passed along Brenta, towed upstream by the banks thanks to the horses, were repaired and found shelter.You could not notice this building characterized by a roofing rooftop, supported by ten brick pillars.
The 12 beautiful mills built in the 15th century and the Squero are located in an area between the two branches of the Brenta: this area is known as “Isola del Maltempo” because of the devastating floods in the past and it is the oldest and most picturesque part of Dolo.
Throughout the eighteenth century the Venetians thought about the Brenta Naviglio as the ideal continuation of the Grand Canal and every year with the beautiful season they spent long periods of holiday in their beautiful countryside.
If until few time before, Dolo was known to give the lagoons the goods of their crops and the flour of Molini, the Venetian influence turns Dolo into a worldly place: the agricultural nature of the place was replaced by stylish parties, refined entertaining, elegant palaces and entertainments in saloon and cafes of the city center, which became the most popular meeting places of the entire Brenta Riviera. In this way Dolo was the natural meeting point and trade center in the Brenta area: a place where agricultural, handcrafts, commercial and tourist activities coexisted and produced wealth.
From here, there is still a great part of the race course along the Brenta Riviera. This part of the track has no altitude difficulty so in these kilometres the road can only be pleasant!
*Stories by run is a weekly column written by Venice by Run for the VMC – Venice Marathon Club events magazine.