Art & CultureArt & Culture

Emilia-Romagna for kids: Comacchio e Ravenna

by /// January 9, 2023
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes



Are you looking for places and activities to do with the whole family in the Comacchio and Ravenna area?
Here is a 2-day itinerary to experience the area in a child-friendly way.

Comacchio: The Pickling Factory

Let’s start with Comacchio, an ancient fishing village surrounded by the Po Delta Park, in the province of Ferrara.

The inhabited center of Comacchio is characterized by a dense network of canals and bridges which earned it the name of “little Venice” of Emilia-Romagna; Comacchio shares glimpses and atmospheres with some of the inhabited centers of the Venetian lagoon, despite being decidedly less touristy and therefore even more authentic.

Il borgo di Comacchio (Ferrara)
Comacchio | Ph Vanni Lazzari

ThePickling Factory is one of the iconic places of the town and represents an important piece of history because in this place it has been restarted the entire processing cycle of marinated eels, one of the typical products of the area, today a Slow Food Presidium.

The building is located behind the stunning seventeenth-century Loggiato dei Cappuccini; today it’s a factory active for a few months of the year (in autumn, from October to December, it is possible to witness live the marinating cycle of the eels, which are prepared in the Fire Room in four main phases: cutting, spitting, cooking and packaging) and it’s also the permanent seat of the Eel Museum, which tells the deep bond of Comacchio’s people with the products of their waters.

Comacchio, Manifattura dei Marinati Ph. Francesco1978
Comacchio, Pickling Factory | Ph. Francesco1978

Comacchio Valleys by bike or boat

From Comacchio it’s then possible to rent bicycles or embark to discover the nearby Comacchio Valleys, the “heart” of the Emilia-Romagna Po Delta Park, one of the most extraordinary European ecosystems where nearly 400 species of birds nest or winter. including the famous flamingos.

There are numerous cycle paths in the area, including one that is considered among the most beautiful in Italy, as well as various proposals for boat excursions.

In particular with children we recommend the one that leads to visit the ancient fishing huts, where it’s possible to see the original fishing structures and furnishings, the equipment related to the life of fishermen, and a traditional fishing facility (the so-called Lavoriero) accurately reconstructed with common reed; if you’re lucky you may meet flamingos along the way, so remember to bring binoculars with you!

Valli di Comacchio, Museo delle Valli, antichi casoni da pesca Ph. Francesco1978
Valli di Comacchio, ancient fishing huts | Ph. Francesco1978

Comacchio: the Museum Delta Antico

Returning towards Comacchio, a stop not to be missed is the Museum Delta Antico, an archaeological museum that traces the history of the Po Delta area from the Bronze Age to the Middle Age.

In fact, for centuries this area has represented an important commercial and cultural hub, a junction point between the Adriatic sea and continental Europe.

Comacchio, Museo Delta Antico, Ospedale degli Infermi
Comacchio, Ospedale degli Infermi, sede del Museo Delta Antico

Of particular importance are the sections dedicated to the Etruscan city of Spina, with objects from the town and the rich grave goods, and to the Roman ship of Comacchio, found in 1981 in the nearby Ponti Valley, evidence of the globalized world of the Roman Empire at the time of Augustus.

The Museum is housed in the Ospedale degli Infermi, an imposing eighteenth-century neoclassical building, located a short distance from the famous and spectacular Trepponti Bridge, where we recommend making a stop before heading towards Ravenna for the following day.

Trepponti, Comacchio Ph. Vanni Lazzari
Comacchio, Trepponti Bridge | Ph. Vanni Lazzari

Ravenna: Unesco sites and Mosaic Workshop

Ravenna is famous all over the world for its rich heritage of mosaics dating back to between the 5th and 6th centuries AD. kept in the early Christian and Byzantine monuments declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a visit to which is essential not only to learn more about the history of this city, which was 3 times capital (of the Western Roman Empire, then of the Reign of Theoderic, King of the Ostrogoths, and finally of the Byzantine Empire) but also to learn more about the history of Italy.

Battistero Neoniano, Ravenna
Ravenna, Neonian Baptistery | Ph. Andrea Bernabini

Visiting the city of mosaics with children is also an excellent opportunity to make them attend one of the mosaic workshops organized in the city, during which they can spend a few hours in a real artisan atelier, discover the materials and tools associated with the modern production of the mosaic, and make a small souvenir of Ravenna with their own hands to briung back home.

Ravenna: Dante Alighieri and the Street Art

The day in Ravenna can go on in the afternoon with a walk in the so-called Zone of Silence, where Dante’s Tomb is located, the small neoclassical-style temple designed by the Ravenna architect Camillo Morigia in 1780 to house the mortal remains of the Great Poet. Here every day at 6 pm it’s possible to attend for free (or actively participate by booking on the calendar) to L’ora che volge il disio, the perpetual reading of the Divine Comedy.

A few steps away, don’t miss the Basilica of San Francesco, famous above all for its fascinating crypt dating back to the 9th – 10th century AD. with the mosaic floor totally covered by water.

La Cripta della basilica di San Francesco (Ravenna)
Ravenna, Crypt of Basilica di San Francesco | Ph. Nicola Strocchi, Archivio Fotografico Comune di Ravenna

Finally, not far away – about 7 minutes on foot – we find the mural dedicated to Dante, the work of the famous Brazilian artist Kobra: the face of the Great Poet, colorful and more than three meters tall, is housed on the external wall of the F. Mordani Primary School in Via Pasolini.

In fact, perhaps not everyone knows that Ravenna is one of the cities of Romagna richest in street art, with works that color its entire historic center up to the Darsena, the ideal place to end the day with an aperitif or a child-friendly dinner.

Ravenna, murales dedicato a Dante Alighieri realizzato da Kobra | Ph. Renzo Favalli
Ravenna, mural dedicated to Dante Alighieri by the famous Brazilian artist Kobra | Ph. Renzo Favalli


Elisa Mazzini

Social Media Manager for @inEmiliaRomagna and full-time mom.

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