The history of the Po Delta area is the story of a millenary
interaction between nature forces and human activities, which fostered
the existence of a great variety of environments and cultural
highlights on the territory; these elements continue to interact
nowadays in a constantly changing context.
The delta territory was born in the course millennia from the deposit of detritus by the river Po: this caused the progressive shifting of the Adriatic coastline.
An area among earth and sea which is continuously evolving, and which serves as a door to the sea for the Po Plain.
Following the steps of medieval pilgrims, and of the Roman garrisons long before, an ideal geographical triangle had (and still has nowadays) at its vertexes the legendary Venice, the magnificent Ferrara (Este itinerary) and the shining Ravenna (Byzantine itinerary). Not to mention, towards the South, the wonderful Rimini.
Torquato Tasso once defined it "Woman of the river Po": the ups and
downs of Ferrara, timeless town set in a metaphysical dimension, have
always been linked to changeable environmental conditions, with water
as the main element.
An amphibian town, risen among moorlands and stretches of water, surrounded by fog.
Thanks to a very particular alchemy of events, the rich aristocracy with its manifest or intestine wars, and an enlightened expansion and sometimes contraction policy – mainly linked to the complex dynamics of the Italic and European chessboard – made the scant village of huts along the river Po become a town rich in splendor: the beautiful and noble Ferrara, which the Dukes of Este will turn into a wonderful Renaissance example.
The history of Ferrara can still be read in its stones, in its town planning division – completed by the Addizione erculea, i.e. the expansion of the town carried out according to the will of Duke Ercole I d'Este -, and in its glorious but at the same time intimate spatial conception: sumptuous and shining inside its buildings, sober and refined in its exterior architectural scenario. An architectural "landscape" which, together with the so-called "Delizie estensi", i.e. wonderful edifices built according to the will of the Dukes, has been declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1999.
Today as in the past, the town of Ravenna stretches along the Adriatic
coast and, with its precious mosaics, it looks like a jewel mounted in
a green frame. It is a modern active town, but at the same time rich in
Ravenna flourished in the 5th – 6th century, when the Byzantine wind spread its magnificence on the Adriatic coasts: in 540 it became the capital of the Exarchate.
That extraordinary period is witnessed by several traces: the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Church of San Giovanni Battista, the Neonian Baptistry, the Arian Baptistry, the Basilica of Spirito Santo, the Archiepiscopal Museum, Theodoric's Mausoleum, the wonderful basilica of San Vitale (an ancient Benedictine monastery, quoted in documents ever since the 10th century), Sant'Apollinare Nuovo and Sant'Apollinare in Classe. Their great mosaics, which were declared World Heritage by UNESCO, make Ravenna unique and famous all over the world; a casket of masterpieces of architecture and of late-ancient and late-medieval art.
Ravenna also houses Dante Alighieri's sepulchre, next to the church of San Francesco, as well as the seat of the Accademia delle Belle Arti and a Pinacoteca Comunale with important works of art. There are also important traces left by the Republic of Venice, such as the Rocca (fortress) and the central Piazza del Popolo square.
There are environmental and landscape features characterizing and distinguishing the different Park "stations", "homogenous territorial areas" as they have been defined by the establishment Law. Their common denominator is water, even if with different salinity levels, which has created wonderful natural environments. And from water, next to water, during the centuries all the human activities linked to fishing, agriculture, tradition, culture and art, have developed.Further information
Volano – Mesola – Goro is the northerneast station of Parco del Delta del Po dell'Emilia-Romagna; situated at the border with the Venetia region, it represents the link between the Park and the active Po delta, and it also presents some distinguishing morphological features of the latter. The territory of the Station is entirely below the average sea level, except for the residual dunes on which stand the built-up parts of the Mesola area and the Romea road. The banks, real architectural earth structures, defend the territory against sea water ingress.Further information
Comacchio still presents its original features as a lagoon town, crossed and surrounded by water for most of its perimeter; in the past, it could be even reached only by boat. The story of the town has always been linked to the exploitation of the vast lagoons and salt pans surrounding it.Further information
The Valli di Comacchio lagoons, central "station" of Parco del Delta del Po dell'Emilia – Romagna, were subject to reclamation works ever since the end of the 19th century, up to the latest works carried out around 1960. They are still formed by water expanses covering more than 13,000 hectares. The lagoons are crossed by banks and spotted with hills, and they present the typical halophilic vegetation of brackish environments, dominated by Salicornia Veneta and Common Sea-Lavender. Water is the basic element for several important traditional activities, such as the breeding and fishing of many fish species, especially eels.Further information
This Station covers about 11,000 hectares and is characterized by the interaction of nature and human activities; this has lead to the creation of a territory where natural elements live next to important historical evidence. The Station embodies some valuable natural areas, such as the vast San Vitale Pinewood, Pialasse of Ravenna (large brackish lagoons linked to the sea), the nature reserve of Punte Alberete with its extraordinary flooded forest, Valle Mandriole - kingdom of herons, the Pirottolo depression and the wonderful Bardello meadow.Further information
Cervia pinewood represents the last remains of an old forest which covered, almost without any interruption, the Adriatic coast from the river Reno to south of the town of Cervia. Its most representative arboreal species is the Stone Pine, whose umbrella-shaped foliage differentiates it from the Maritime pine, more common in coastal pinewoods. The Salt pans in Cervia are a 827 ha wetland, situated in a depression behind the coast and linked to the sea by two canals - Pino canal and Bova canal.Further information
The lagoons called Valli di Argenta represent one of the few examples of fresh-water wetlands in continental Europe. These lands escaped reclamation thanks to their important hydraulic function, as they act as expansion basins holding the water of two of the river Reno's tributaries when it is in flood. The territory is crossed by a huge network of canals, which help regulating the flow of the water streams.Further information