Tegnùe, a submerged natural heritage to discover
“Coral reef of the Adriatic”
A truly unexpected gem of this stretch of coast, which we imagine as being mainly sandy, are the tegnùe (which in local dialect means “held back”): very special limestone rock formations that are particularly suitable for keen divers to discover.
The tegnùe are typical of the upper Adriatic and were already known in the 18th century by the fishermen of Chioggia, Pellestrina and Malamocco, but also Caorle and Treporti. They called them “held back” because their nets got entangled in these rocks.
These formations create genuine ecological niches – above all due to the activity of calcareous algae and invertebrates such as coral – full of ravines, caves and tunnels rich in biodiversity. Algae, molluscs and anemones thrive here, as do numerous species of fish.
This “coral reef of the Adriatic” was first defined in the 18th century by Abbot Giuseppe Olivi, a naturalist originally from Chioggia.
They are located at depths from 15 to 40 metres, and range from small isolated formations to stretches of rock hundreds of metres long: in front of Pellestrina and San Pietro in Volta, for example, they are found about 20 metres deep.
Since 2002, the area of the tegnùe off the coast of Chioggia has been declared a Biological Protection Zone by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, with a ban on all fishing. Today, thanks to the Region, local associations and diving clubs, many initiatives are held to discover this local pearl, to ensure its protection and proper use, especially by divers.