Nature & Outdoor
“Where the land doesn’t seem to start and the sea doesn’t end” might be the perfect headline for a book on the PO DELTA PARK.
We want to take you right there, because, after all, to get to know better one’s own territory and what it offers, is amazing and definitely useful, especially when you happen to be in one of the most extraordinary ecosystems in the world, declared World Heritage by Unesco.
We have told you about the beauty of this gigantic oasis more than once in the previous editions, bone of contention between two regions – Veneto and Emilia-Romagna for its woods and pine forests, sweet and salty water valleys, lagoons and amazing flora and fauna.
There are many ways to enjoy the area, but maybe crossing it in a CAMPERVAN, doing several stops, maybe the best way, or at least, certainly the most romantic one.
Beyond the usual organizational and logistic issues (at least if it’s your first journey in a van), you don’t have to worry, because the park is well-equipped with a number of rest areas and campsites, leaving you spoilt for choice.
The territory doesn’t feature any specific restrictions and is well-connected. A widespread network of documents, information, and services available in the visitor centres and museums to meet your needs and give you valid departure points from where to start your explorations in the rich cultural, naturalist and food and drink heritage of the area.
In addition, the Tourist Information Points and the local Pro Loco offices are at your disposal, granting you in this way full support for every step of your journey.
The Po Delta Park is still the perfect destination for anyone who wants a holiday in direct contact with nature — not for this setting aside the sea — and who want to go for excursions without walking too far away from their campervan. Birdwatchers will find these areas a real paradise due to the multitude of species they can observe and photograph. After all, it’s not by chance that every two years Comacchio hosts the famous International Po Delta Birdwatching exhibition.
All the area is perfect to enjoy fully your love for sports and outdoor life, especially on a bike! For this reason, don’t forget your bike at home!
1st STOP | THE MOUTH OF THE DELTA
Where to stay: many campsites and rest areas available in the area of Mesola
Length of stay: 2 days
Over the whole area, the horizon looks undefined and calm. Earth and water seem to become one thing. Northwards, the Po makes itself visible, while now and then, the head of some species of typical local bird pops out from the vegetation. There are many things to do, and having everything at a stone’s throw is of use. A sure thing is that Mesola is the perfect departure point.
Your stay in this area will give you many surprises. You can choose to stop by the grand court of the Castle of Mesola, one of the many Este Villas left on this territory. Don’t forget to make a stop at the sluice of the Abate Tower, a plumbing system dating back to 1569; or you can just go on and walk across the Natural Reserve of Gran Bosco Della Mesola, an ancient hunting arena and one of the last and best-preserved examples of countryside woods, populated by local bucks and deer. If you go, don’t forget binoculars and a camera!
Along the road leading to Goro and Gorino, you cross a suggestive bridge of boats that brings you to the mouth of the Po river, up to the wide lagoon (also known as ‘Sacca’).
The whole area is known for the production of mollusks, particularly crosscut carpet shells, mussels, and oysters. If you want to taste some specialties, we suggest you stop by one of the many restaurants in the area.
And don’t forget the excursion to the Island of Love, the last stretch of land that divides the river Po from the sea: It’s a sandy beach that you can reach only per sea, at the centre of which towers a lighthouse, making the whole landscape something terribly romantic.
Once you’ve left the mouth of the ‘big river’ behind and are back in the inland, you can drive to the big Abbey of Pomposa. Easy to reach by car, it is one of the most important medieval monastic complexes in Italy. If you want to rest a bit, you will find a suitable parking lot. You can’t certainly miss its artistic and monumental treasures.
2nd STOP | COMACCHIO AND ITS VALLEYS
Where to stay: in the seven beaches of Comacchio (the so-called ‘Lidi Estensi’, literally ‘the Este beaches’), you’ll find many solutions for your stay as well as campsites
Length of stay: 2/3 days
An infinite network of water streams is what marks the area of the Valleys of Comacchio, which has been acknowledged as the homeland of the eel and many bird species.
At the centre of this natural ecosystem over an area of 13,000 hectares, develops the sea village of COMACCHIO, an old fluvial city that started to grow in importance from the Middle Ages.
Today, the city centre stands out for its tidy water streams that reflect the many overlooking pastel-colored houses, which, with their apparent shabby aspect, recall the village’s fishing origins.
Comacchio is rich of cultural urgencies: from the picturesque Trepponti Bridge at the Old Fishmonger, the Gallery of the Capuchins, up to the Antico Ospedale Degli Infermi, today hosting the Museum Delta Antico.
On foot, by bike or even boat, you should visit the valleys of Comacchio without any rush: there are so many itineraries and themed tracks. Therefore, we suggest you ask for the scheduled events and tours at the information offices you will find spread across the area.
You absolutely cannot miss a visit to the Saltpans of Comacchio and to the Pickling Factory, and you definitely should have a fish dinner and make an excursion across the valleys to admire the flock of flamingos. In addition, the House Museum Remo Brindisi in Lido di Spina and a stop at the Oasis of Boscoforte, recently reopened to the public, will complete the sequence.
Of course, there is always the sea and the seven beach towns with their wild and libertarian character will meet the most different needs.
There are many itineraries around the Comacchio valleys: on foot, by bicycle, or even by boat, it is good to wander without haste. Our advice is to request information on the planned initiatives.
3rd STOP | RAVENNA AND CERVIA
Where to stay: Ravenna and Cervia offer a wide choice of well-equipped stop areas and camping sites
Length of stay: 3 days
The area south to the Valleys of Comacchio is rich in suggestions and originality. Among pine forests and brackish natural lagoons, the nine beach towns of Ravenna can give you amazing landscapes and relaxing moments.
It all depends on what you’re looking for, of course: each beach town on the coast of Ravenna has its own peculiarities and can meet different needs.
The beaches further North, such as CasalBorsetti, Marina Romea and Porto Corsini are more suitable for camper enthusiasts, granting you a wild contact with nature, thanks to places like the Pine Forest of San Vitale, Punte Alberete, Pialassa Baiona and all that strip of back-dunal beaches.
The meeting point to start your tour and discover the nature in this area might be the NatuRa Museum in Sant’Alberto, which organizes a number of itineraries all year round. A bit further South, however, between Lido di Dante and Lido di Classe, you will find the Visitor Centre Cubo Magico Bevanella, which organizes guided tours dedicated to the Pine Forest of Classe, the natural Oasis of Ortazzo and Ortazzino and the Bevano river mouth.
In the heart of the millenarian city of RAVENNA, with its suggestions from the Orient and its splendid mosaics of the 5th-6th century safeguarded inside its Unesco monuments, among which is the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, just at the foot of the namesake pine forest.
Finally, yet importantly, the sea village of CERVIA is famous for its thousand-year-old saltpans that welcome flamingos, black-winged stilts, avocets and many other protected species that every year choose this place to rest in their never-ending migrating from hot to cold areas of the World.
Davide Marino was born archaeologist but ended up doing other things. Rational – but not methodic, slow – but passionate. A young enthusiast with grey hair
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