Altimetry: h min 19m asl - h max 31m asl
The river Oglio springs from Stelvio mountain group; the main spring,
at the foot of Corno dei Tre Signori, gives birth to the branch Oglio
di Arcanello which in Ponte di Legno joins Oglio Narcanello and Oglio
Frigidolfo to create the main river flowing for 80 kilometers in Val
Camonica. The river Oglio flows into Iseo lake and flows out of it in
In 1988 with the regional law no. 18 of 16th April, Oglio Nord Regional Park was established: it includes the river territory from Sarnico (BG) to Gabbioneta (CR) and involves 34 Municipalities in the Provinces of Bergamo, Brescia, and Cremona.
In 1988 with the regional law no. 17 of 16th April, Oglio Sud Park was established.
The territory of Oglio Sud Park extends itself, with a width varying from a few hundred meters to more than three kilometers, along the whole course of the river, going from the border with Oglio Nord Park in the Municipality of Ostiano (CR) to the confluence with the river Po, into which Oglio flows after a course of about 70 kilometers in the Provinces of Cremona and Mantua: for long stretches, the river marks their administrative border.
The Park covers a total area of about 12,800 hectares.
The landscape is characterized by agricultural activities where the thick water network, often marked by scrub strips and tree rows and developing along the plains surrounding the river, interrupts the ordered sequence of cultivated fields. The areas between the low-water riverbed and its banks stand out in the countryside for their imposing poplar woods and, in some stretches, for their thick borders consisting of white willows, which sometimes extend and form real willow scrubs. The bed of the river Oglio is characterized by a winding and one-canal course with some well-evident meanders and often steep banks, at the foot of which in summer you can see large sand beaches. The Park is nowadays mainly characterized by wetlands at different evolution stages and with floristic and wildlife diversity, while the natural forest elements are not that significant and are mainly situated along the shores, delimiting the course of the river.
The main naturalistic features of the Park are Gerre Gavazzi and Runate Oxbows Nature Reserves, Le Bine, Marcaria Peat Bogs, and S. Alberto Flood Plain, as well as other sites which are not reserves but Sites of Community Importance (SCI), in particular: Valli di Mosio and Bosco Foce Oglio. Moreover, for their naturalistic value, we should mention Canale Bogina, Foce Chiese and Calvatone willow groves, and Belforte Peat Bogs.
The natural vegetable formations present in the Park cover about 200
hectares, 1.6% of the total area, and distinguish themselves for the
prevalence of wetlands on woodlands. The relative shortage of wetlands
in the Po Plain and their gradual reduction along the major rivers have
transformed them in very important natural areas.
For instance, between the Municipalities of Canneto sull'Oglio and Marcaria, the best natural marshy associations can be found, together with floristic elements which are typical of the original vegetation.
Near the ponds of the oxbows, you can also appreciate the gradual sequence of the vegetable species as you leave from the stretch of water, a sign of their increasing link to this element: from the canebrake to the willows, to the alders and white poplars, to the oak wood. This sequence is particularly evident in the Nature Reserve "Le Bine", in the Municipality of Calvatone (CR), on the top of the bank bordering the Reserve in the south and in the west, and also around the borders of Golena di S. Alberto in the Municipality of Marcarla (MN).
As a consequence, there is the need to safeguard these residual ecosystems, for several reasons:
essential element of the Park landscape is the considerable diffusion
of the poplar cultivations. They contribute to the local creation of
green strips, useful fringes between the residual natural areas and the
areas which are more intensively exploited by agriculture.
The largest surface covered with poplar woods can be mainly found in the last stretch of the river, in the areas between the low-water riverbed and the banks: although they are short-turn standardized timber plantations, they do interrupt the worrying trend towards the reduction of the forest covering and the monotonous simplification of the landscape line.
The aims of the Park are to enlarge the surfaces of the natural environments and to create a continuity between the islands of shrub and arboreal vegetation. By exploiting the rich network of canals and waterways in order to spread again tree rows, edges, woodland strips along the fields, on the slopes and the shores of the river, the territory would be enriched from an ecological point of view, it would be subject to a microclimatic rebalancing, and also to a reduction in the use of irrigation.
In this territory, deeply shaped by the human presence, we can find a mosaic of ecosystems characterized by various evolution stages, representing low-land river landscapes whose active conservation is one of the main aims of the Park Authority. The final stretch of the river valley, where the river Oglio flows forming several meanders - characteristic of the low flood plains - is represented by one and only river canal, deep and set among thin sediments with a sandy-muddy texture. The edges of the river valley are represented by the morphological slopes marking the border with the main level - clearly recognizable by the difference in height. The landscape value of these slopes is particularly important where they are characterized by a considerable height and by settlements. These differences in height reach ten meters in the upstream stretch from Ostiano to Canneto sull'Oglio, and they are almost meaningless in the last stretch in the Municipality of Viadana. This last stretch is particularly interesting as far as the river morphology is concerned, since it is interested by the action of the two rivers Oglio and Po.
The territory of the river Oglio flood plain is characterized by a thick network of drainage ditches.
The presence of several meanders is one of the main landscape features of Oglio Sud Park.
The areas with natural vegetation are small and fragmented; the six areas of greatest naturalistic value and mainly representing the Park environments are:
Despite the main feature of the Park natural environments is without a doubt their limited extension (given to the intense agricultural activity), they are not isolated, since the presence of the river Oglio and its affluents (ex. Chiese), the thick network of drainage channels, as well as the tree lines and the hedges represent the prodromes of an ecological network which sometimes makes up for the limited extension of the natural environments, favoring the development of the species and guaranteeing the practicability of the territories.
As far as wildlife is concerned, the research activities carried out in the Park area have highlighted, like in the rest of the Po Plain, a great impoverishment in the variety of the present animal species.
However, the observations gathered in the Park territory have enabled the survey regarding some statistically important species.
In particular, it is among birds that we can find the greatest variety in species, some of which are also rather rare: the Purple Heron, the Night Heron, the Great White Egret (wintering species), the Osprey (in spring) and the Bittern (wintering species), the Kingfisher, the Bee-eater, etc.
Considerable the presence of Gray Heron, confirmed by the large place where the specimens nest in Marcaria Peat Bog Nature Reserve, and by the one in "Le Bine".
Nineteen species of mammals have been registered; eight certain species of reptiles and seven of amphibians, among which the endemic Italian Agile Frog.
Expert entomologists have highlighted the particular value of the Coleoptera-aquatic fauna found in the Marcaria Peat Bog Nature Reserve, both for the richness in species and for the entity of each population.
The recovery of the territory would favor the wildlife enrichment of the Park.
river and the surrounding territory are rich in remarkable historical
evidences which recall the farthest and most significant epochs.
Near Calvatone (CR) and Acquanegra sul Chiese (MN) the river interrupts its perfect straight line made of the ancient trail of Via Postumia, connecting Gena to Aquileia.
In the east of Calvatone, excavations which began several years ago have brought back to light a Roman settlement, identified as the ancient Bedriacum (1st century BC - 4th century AD): an archaeological find which has aroused a considerable interest together with the find of a great "villa" dating back to the late Imperial age in the territory of Isola Dovarese.
The vicus of Bedriacum was quoted by writers like Plutarch and Tacitus and some documents located it at 20-22 miles in the east of Cremona. In the landscape there are still frequent traces of the Roman settlement, overlapped by the water and road networks.
The river has always been an element of attraction, a way of penetration of traffics and goods, the reference point around which the life of the surrounding territory was organized. Important evidences of the population settlements dating back to the Bronze age, and still before, to the Neolithic period, are well-documented in the municipal museums of Piadena, Viadana, and Asola. Of extraordinary importance the discovery, a few years ago, of some one-tree trunk pirogues which have remained intact in the riverbed and which have been found during the excavations near Isola Dovarese. However, the period of which we have more monumental and architectural evidences is the one during which, along the river Oglio, the Duchy of Mantua and the Duchy of Milan competed with alternating fortunes.
A series of castles, fortresses, strategic settlements was created to reinforce the borders. The castle and fortresses of Ostiano, Canneto and Casatico, the walls of Bozzolo, the wonderful example of late Renaissance square of Isola Dovarese date back to this period.
A borderland between the territories of Cremona and Mantua, which is also possible to recognize for the different peculiarities of the respective agricultural settlements:
These evidences of the Po Plain farming
civilization can become the themes for an interesting itinerary, to
follow "by chance" along the municipal and estate roads of the sixteen
Municipalities within the Park.
An ideal route along the river Oglio cannot miss the visit to a particular "monument" which has become a symbol of the river, of its history, and of the men who lived and still live there: the bridge of boats of Torre d'Oglio. The small local museums (Canneto sull'Oglio, Piadena, Isola dovarese, Viadana and Asola), the historical museums, the Visitor Centers of the Nature Reserve "Le Bine" of WWF, the historical town centers, the great number of country buildings and the natural environments of the Park form a great heritage of historical and scientific documentation, of knowledge and beauties, to spread through the sensitization actions and the didactics promoted by Oglio Park Authority.