A UNESCO World Heritage Site of great natural interest, this is the oldest pile-dwelling settlement in Friuli Venezia Giulia and one of the most important in Italy.

The Palù di Livenza is a prehistoric site of great natural interest. Also known as Palù della Santissima, it gets its name from the marshland area where it is located, which stretches from the municipalities of Caneva and Polcenigo in the area around the source of the Livenza River. The swampy state of the area, situated between the springs of the river and the downstream meadows, is the perfect habitat for many hygrophilous plant species and typical marshland birdlife.

The archaeological importance of the area has been well-known since the 1960s when excavations unearthed ancient wooden stakes, as well as many clay and stone ruins, proving the existence of ancient pile-dwelling settlements. Subsequent studies have helped to reconstruct the history of the Palù basin, which has been transformed over thousands of years from a lake to a semi-dry peat bog, currently covered by branches of the Livenza River. The core samples and stratigraphic and sedimentological studies conducted have suggested that the site had been used since the ancient Paleolithic period (between 4,500 and 3,800 B.C. ), making it the oldest pile-dwelling site in northern Italy. In particular, the dendrochronological and paleobotanical studies have proven the existence of at least three types of pile-dwelling structures, relating to clear stages of settlement, which can be dated back to the recent Neolithic period. Several materials emerged from the digs during the various research surveys: they were mainly splintered stone artefacts or ceramic and wooden fragments, which were the remains of the huts. However, there were also a few rare finds of everyday objects, such as fragments of oars and paddles and a large vase. The paleobotanical studies reconstructed the habitat at the time of the settlement, which can be dated back to the so-called mixed oak forest period and was populated by deer and wild boar.

The Palù site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011, as part of the “prehistoric pile-dwelling sites around the Alpine regions of France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and Italy”

For more information

Comune di Polcenigo
Piazza Plebiscito, 1 - 33070 Polcenigo

Tel. +39 0434 74001   www.comune.polcenigo.pn.it