The first pictures of Lignano date back to the period between the XVI and the XVII century. During that period of time, the peninsula of Lignano consisted in just a series of dunes, sculptured by the wind and crossed by little canals and a stretch of beach, a lot of black cluster-pines, holms, Ruscus Aculeatus and some little nice houses on a prominence of the lagoon's slope. Also a fishers' refuge and a little church is visible from the distance.
A document of the V century reveals details about a "shore called Lignano" as a property of a certain Lunius. It seems that this land was not used for cultivation and breeding, but for the conservation of fish and other products of the lagoon. Some of these products were the socalled "garum," a particolar kind of fish-sauce, and the salt, a fundamental economic resource of the land.
The old tradion says that the actual name "Lignano" comes from "Lupignanum" a latin word that signifies "forest infested by the woolfs" but somebody has told that it was also known as the "forest of the wood." The wood came especially from the region of the Carnia. The "zatars," ancient rafters, brough it to the mouth of the Tagliamento River.
There all the woods were gathered to be left at the Serenissima arsenal. In 1420 Lignano come under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Venice; then, as a feud, it was given to several noble families of the territory. Lignano's harbour was the principal gate of access to Marano's sea and, for this reason, they built up a fort over there, as a symbol of the Venetian domineering on the Adriatic.
That's why Lignano has been oft remembered and cited on the books of medieval history: it has been very important and influent for the development of Marano lagunare. Venezia and the Empire contended for the control over Marano. As the battles stopped, Lignano kept on being the "Land of the Dogate." directely administrated by the Council of the Ten. In 1812 a little fort has been built and proclaimed in Lignano as a defence against England. In 1813 the once small settlements began to increase until of 1900, century during which the first buildings and hotels were built. Those years definitely sealed the beginning of Lignano' s success as a summer resort.