Park of the Po Delta and Marshes of Comacchio

Founded in 1988, the Park of the Po Delta extends for more than 60.000 hectares across the provinces of Ravenna and Ferrara and includes 9 municipalities. UNESCO appointed it World Heritage Site in 1999 in order to safeguard its extraordinary natural ecosystem.

The park flanks the eastern border of the Po Valley, where the river Po flows into the Adriatic SeaDeltapo2.jpg, and is characterized by different landscapes featuring humid climate and lush flora. Although a real census never took place, the park is said to host more than one thousand different vegetable species. The Park of the Po Delta features a wide array of different habitats raging from the beaches and dunes of the Adriatic Coast to wide lagoons and brackish valleys, from marshes and wetlands to shrub woods, from brushwoods to clearings.

Some protected areas are crossed by charming footpaths which give visitors the possibility to admire the different landscapes of the Po Delta. They can also hire bikes and cycle along numerous cycle paths. Sighting towers and sheds, situated just in the heart of the lush vegetation, attract the lovers of birdwatching; the Park of the Po Delta cherishes about 370 species of birds which nest or winter here.

Not to be missed are the numerous research centres situated throughout the territory; a short distance from the marshes of Comacchio is Palazzone Sant’Alberto Centre, which is home to the Ornithological Museum of Natural Science of Ravenna where it is possible to admire numerous species of birds, take advantage of the well-stocked scientific library and gain information about naturalistic itineraries, educational centres and guided tours. Other interesting educational centres are the Centre of Environmental Education of Mesola, which offers a detailed overview of the deltapo3.jpgdifferent landscapes which follow one another throughout the park, and the Visitor Centre of Cervia's Salt Pan.

Many seaside resorts host special centres and riding grounds which arrange interesting horse rides. Even boat trips are interesting ways to discover some of the Delta's more remote corners: motorships can be hired in the harbours of Gorino, Goro and Portogaribaldi and give visitors the possibility to reach the famous Sacca di Goro (Goro Inlet), Gorino's Valley and the Island of Mazzanino.

Crossing the marshes of Comacchio on foot or by bike, it is possible to enjoy an outstanding historic-naturalistic itinerary which crosses the city and goes on into the marshes up to the mouth of the river Reno; this area is a real paradise for lagoon birds, such as flamingos, herons, avocets and both Mediterranean and Slender-billed gulls.

Fishing (valley, sea and river) is an important economic resource for the inhabitants of the areas bordering the Park of the Po Delta and many facilities have been arranged to perform sports fishing. The lovers of this sport can fish in specific areas and periods of the year, in compliance with proper laws of environmental protection.

Apart from going for long walks, taking photographs and visiting information and educational centres, visitors can enjoy the numerous refreshment booths situated throughout the territory, which serve and sell tasty local products, such as salted sardines and eels, pine nuts and fine truffles coming from the pinewood forests, piadina, the traditional speciality from Romagna, and the famous bread from Ferrara ("coppie"). The wines produced in the Park of the Po Delta are known as the wines of the Wood. Among these, four were awarded the Registered Designation of Origin: Fortana and Merlot red wines and Sauvignon and Bianco white wines.