The river Po, called the "gentle giant", is the longest river in Italy.
With its 650 km (about 400 miles), it runs through the Po Plain and
flows into the Adriatic Sea, forming a delta and one of the largest
wetlands in Europe and in the Mediterranean Sea.
It is situated exactly on the 45th parallel - the same one for Turin – and it stretches out to the sea like a triangle whose axis coincides with the main branch of Po di Venezia and whose sides run in the north along the Adige river and in the south along Po di Goro. The Po Delta is the most recent stretch of territory in Italy. As a matter of fact, the characteristic protrusion of the northern part of Italy has begun to take shape less than 400 years ago and is continuously evolving.
The Po Plain formed itself in the period between the Pliocene - 10-12 million years ago, when the sea lapped the Alps and the Apennines - and the Wurm - 75,000-10,000 years ago, the last glacial period.
The coastal line on the Adriatic Sea became stable 5,000-6,000 years ago, and only since then it became possible to follow more precisely the evolutionary process of the Po mouth.
In the indisputable unique frame of the Po Delta it is possible to find
an area created both by the sedimentation of the river and by the work
of man who, during the centuries, has controlled its course and drained
the land around it. In the Delta area, nature, history, tradition,
culture, and art intertwine to offer the visitor an original and
The area consists of different environments, each one with its own features: the countryside with paleoriverbeds, fossil dunes, embankments, fishing lagoons, lagoons or brackish inlets, and sandbars. Since it is possible to meet these environments coming from the East and following the Po flow, we have chosen the following order to get well acquainted with the Delta area.
To talk about the flora of the Po Delta we will go from the countryside to the areas next to the sea, differentiating the vegetation according to the environments we will meet.
The Delta environment limits the life of land animals, except in the woods and on the coastal dunes.
On the contrary, it is a real paradise for birds, both resident and migratory birds, for fish and mollusks.
To talk about the fauna of the Po Delta, we will follow a route going from the countryside to the areas next to the sea, differentiating the environments we will find along the way and describing the animals populating them.