The Po Delta is the land of the river, the sea and the wind. In a hug between Adige and Po, from the waves of the sea, and thanks to the endless activity of the water, a big land with a wide and free landscape is born. An ancient but always young land, because it has neither boarders, nor it can, because water draws its profile again and again, every day.
It is the land of the "septem maria" we are told about by Plinio il Vecchio, a crossroad between the East and the West, as testify the Greek - Etruscan emporiums of Adria and Spina, the Ambra way, the Roman graves and roads, land of transit of ancient memory, meeting point for the navigators, merchants, pilgrims and poets. Cities of a rare beauty, as precious stones which decorate a rich crown, make it a land of travels: Venezia, Serenissima and sumptuous, Rovigo, tied together to 2 big rivers Po and Adige since the beginning of time, Ferrara, dukedom renaissance beauty; Ravenna, altrera in the oriental meaning.
For these reasons the Delta del Po can be proud to exhibit the Unesco recognition for its extraordinary artistic, cultural and environmental testimonies. The Delta del Po is, no matter what, despite the men and history, a welcoming and alive with life area, in which nature expresses itself in a continuous parabola of rebirth.
Rivers that shore to the sea, valleys of fresh and salty water, wide lagoons, forests, pine-woods, make the Delta del Po an extraordinary example of biodiversity, a big laboratory in which water, through the year, is always the protagonist.
The naturalist heritage contained in this environment is safeguarded by two parks, the Veneto and the one of the Emilia Romagna, a whole of more than 60000 hectares of surfaces that the birds have elected as reproduction area. The great environmental biodiversity of the delta represents, for many species, a real stronghold of national and European level. The Veneto park covers about the 90% of the Delta del Po territory which, with its 7 branches, constitutes its active part, and still maintains precious natural environments: thousands of hectares of verdant golene, river islands, huge "bonelli" covered by marshy reeds, fringe fertile lagoons, such as the "Sacca di Scardovari", the Basson, and the Barmarco lagoon. As defence of the Delta from the power of the sea, there are secluded sand islands, the "scani", that is mouth bars among which we remember "Scano Boa". And still extraordinary salty valleys, ancient dune cordons as the ones of San Basilio and wood areas as Rosolina Mare, Donanda, Contarina.
The Park comprises 9 Town Halls in the Rovigo province: Adria, Ariano Polesine, Corbola, Loreo, Papozze, Porto Tolle, Porto Viro, Rosolina e Taglio di Po'.
The value of the Delta del Po' – one of the most representative coastal ecosystem of the European continent – is unanimously recognized on an international level with 31 spots of community relevance and 22 zones of special protection. Is contains 13 Natural reserves of the Italian State. The two park safeguard this environmental heritage in which live and reproduce about 350 birds species, 64 of them at conservation priority, a natural pix in which 970 plants species have been counted, among them rare endemismi of the Delta. An extraordinary naturalistic variety with or without wings, which perfectly fits into the specificity of these spots. The water, unquestioned protagonist with different degree of saltiness, offers an ideal habitat for an unrepeatable environmental development. A colony of pink flamingos, with more than 10000 birds, present on the delta area, indicate la naturalistic particularity of these waters, in which it is possible to admire the Red Heron and the Spatola, the minor Marangone, the Sgarza Ciuffetto, the Pignattaio, the Moretta tabaccata, the Gabbiano Roseo, the Fraticello, the Ghindaia Marina, the Sterna black legs and the famous Cavaliere d'italia.
Every season is ideal to bird-watch in the Delta del Po, but spring and fall are the best periods either for the quantity of birds or the aspect and colors of vegetation. The first day hours and when the sun fades at dusk are the best moments of the day to enjoy the fauna beauties, especially the aquatic ones, which can be seen in the valleys, grove of reeds, lagoons, ponds and inlets. Ancient Venetian houses mirrors on the Po, telling stories about noblemen and big estates. Adria, Etruscan garrison of well known reputation, so much as giving the name at the Adriatic sea that in that period touched it, preserves, nowadays as well, precious testimonies of its past in the National Archeological Museum.
In Porto Viro is born the modern delta: the "cut" made on the Po waterway in the seventeenth century, a colossal enterprise intended to revolutionize the morphology of the whole territory and to open the horizon to further mouths to the sea, further lagoons, further outpourings. It is at Papozze that the Po begins to divide itself, pouring in its delta at Ca' Tiepolo. The interaction between water and sea, where the "CASONI" testify the secular presence of the human beings, river routs, drainages have determined an extremely complex hydraulic landscape. A big valley that pulses at the discrete bit of the dewatering pumps, that has the scars of a drainage, of its huge proportions with regimazione plants, often signaled by very tall chimneys. Signs of a modern archeology, as Ca' Vendramin, now Regional Museum, was in the past in the forefront as example of dewatering pump structure, or the counterpart Adria and Salarino plants, but also Torre dell'Abate and Torre Palù on the Canal Bianco, a stone's throw away from the Bosco della Mesola.
In such a variegated water universe, from time immemorial, the chosen activity has always been the fishing. The genius and the hunger in an environment populated by fishes, moved the hands of the men to weave nets, pick up and work marshy reeds and build fishing tools. Among these, the "lavoriero", to catch valley fishes, the "vallicoltura" plants and the "sea garden", for the picking of the clams, synthesis between nature and real culture. Thousands of boats, bigger to go to the sea, flat-bottom to plough the lagoon, thin and long to quickly cover long distances, portarte a remi o a paradelli dalla punta biforcuta, are, even with some variations the fishing fleet from the Po Delta to up to Cervia. The small motor boats represents the fastest and most suitable mean of transportation for the modern fishing activities. Electric and equipped boat are especially suitable for the touristic navigation: the delta, visited by boat, is a continuous discovery with its slow running that follows the breathing of the river and the internal valleys. Only an expert eye, used to the fag and the liquid horizons, can discover the water ways that go through the delta. History, deleting and transforming the nice and extravagant names given to the places, evokes into the present a list of Christian names for valleys, lagoons and bumps. There is Po di Gnocca – or Po della Donzella – the Po di Maistra, Busa di Scirocco e Busa del Bastimento. The sea around the Delta offers welcoming and equipped white sand beaches, from Rosolina Mare to Albarella up to Boccasette and Baccaria. A coast where it is possible to find perfect accommodations for hospitality, also outdoors, with solutions for holidays, maybe during the winter time, when the sea melts with the fog. The set of the Etruscan table used to reserve a specific plate to serve the fish: a circle shape with a circle hollow. The fish, disposed around the plate could gain taste with a sauce of fish and aromatic herbs – the garum – poured at the centre: the same precious sauce that the fishermen of the delta, in the following centuries, would utilize to pay the river duties to the Longobardi. Valley and sea fish, gilthead, eels, clams, mussels and "Acquadelle", shrimps and mullets. All the Delta tastes triumph in gastronomical preparations tied up to memories of the area: the "sarde in saor" with onion rings, roasted eels on the grill or marinated with the traditional manufacture.
The fish broth, the tasty genuine clams of Scardovari and of the Lagoon of Caleri at Rosolina Mare, bring forward the as much delicious bird plates, with or without mush. But there is also a cuisine which origin comes from the pine-woods and the little river woods, particularly with tasty honey and truffles. A big vaunt of the delta cuisine, the rice (certified origin denomination), which includes an infinity of matches among the others the one with beans "alla canarola", memories of the ancient art of reed pickers. The fertile drainage lands known "earth garden" offers, still with their sandy grounds, the Rosolina radicchio "the red rose", garlic and an esteemed variety of watermelon called "del delta" and any kind of vegetables. A delta that offers taste of emotions, also on the table .