Article by Rossella Dosso published in Fuoco Lento

Fiuri de tapo senpre i stissi, passa i seculi e i ani, vinti lisieri senpre vain, ma voltri sora l'aque sê nuvissi. 

It is the great Biagio Marin, and it is the opening verse of his lyric dedicated to the humble and docile plants, which, at the decline of summer, refresh the sandbanks of the lagoon of Grado with their bluish and purple colours, the "fiuri de Tapo". In other words, the flowers of the Limonium plants that emerge on the muddy hills, the Tapi, when the tide gets low, resisting the force of the sea and the wind. And that the poet's sensitive soul metaphorically assimilates to man's struggle against the circumstances that often perturb his life. Even that of Biaseto, orphaned by his mother at an early age, which the events of life have forced him, for a long time, far from his beloved Grado. "Gravo xè figia de Quileia e mare de Venessia", said the Graisians. That's right: its history is linked to that of the ancient Roman colony, whose inhabitants found refuge there after the barbarian invasions of the fifth century. It is also linked to the Duchy of Venice, being its "mother", for having given it the prestigious patriarchal title.

"Tra sielo e mar par un castelo in aria". This is how the poet "el gno paese belo" sees it, which at the dawn of the 19th century was under the dominion of the Hapsburg Empire. He favoured its tourist development, raising it - with a decree signed by Francesco Giuseppe in 1892 - to "Stazione di Cura e Bagni di Grado" and emphasizing its characteristics as a health resort and meeting place for the Central European aristocracy. In 1900 Baron Leonhard Bianchi had a complex of villas built next to the beach which still bear his name and which contributed significantly to the growth of accommodation in Grado: increasingly appreciated thanks to the sand and the quality of its seawater in the treatment of various diseases. Intellectuals, writers, poets such as Pirandello, Freud and the architect Otto Wagner chose it as a destination for their holidays and treatments.

Walking around the town you can still breathe that Central European air and that aristocratic charm that make it enchantingly unique. Going into the heart of the town you will find the valuable architectural testimonies of the Basilica of Sant'Eufemia and the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. And we immerse ourselves in the maze of narrow calli and small squares - which are so reminiscent of Venice - where Biagio Marin had spent his childhood before going - on his father's "trabacolo" - around the lagoon. Which in her poetry - "that was born like the grass" - appears to us in its colours, its scents and its silences, dotted with the characteristic casoni, thatched roofs: born as a refuge and transformed over time into fishermen's homes.

Emblem of a life dedicated to the sea and fishing, in the fascinating lagoon environment, is the "Boreto alla graisana" that the wives of the fishermen used to cook with waste fish: what was not sold at the market, each family keeps its variation of the recipe, which must inevitably contain "do pugni de pèvere", to put it in Gradesean. In the dialect - that is - which gave voice to all the poetic work of Biagio Marin and which is still widespread in Gravo, having proudly stood up to the pitfalls: those of the time, in particular. Resisting as they know how to make fiuri de Tapo. Just like them.

Rossella Dosso - Gorizia3.0