Po Delta Park

THE PO DELTA PARK

An itinerary of art, history and nature, sailing in total relaxation on the waters of the river Po in Volano. 
An excursion which combines water and the lands of the Ferrara area, an ideal area for exploring by bicycle due to the flat lay of the land. 
The delta extends out to touch on fascinating areas and landscapes: the castle and forest of Mesola, the Volano pine forest, the Bertuzzi valleys and the age-old Abbey of Pomposa. 
Reached in just a few minutes by car, or on alternative transport for those interested in cycling or horse-riding. 
Wherever you are, you can easily reach your chosen destination.
Between the green of the waves and the shade of the pine forest, the golden strip of fine sandy beaches extends for kilometres from the Po to the Comacchio valleys, and slopes gently towards the sea.
The Po delta park is an extraordinary area, created by the passing of water which has left its mark everywhere. Water from rivers, canals, valleys; sea water, water which no longer flows, taken away over centuries of continuous work.
Water which has left behind this extraordinary landscape of reclaimed land. 
Land and water have created places which exist in a fragile balance between emerged and submerged terrain; places which display new colours and fragrances in every season, and the low horizon of the plains, marked by the flight of birds, bewitches the visitor and offers them an unrepeatable experience.

UNESCO classification

The Po delta park has been classified classified a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The park was added to the list during the committee session held in Marrakech, Marocco, on 2 December 1999; the new site was given the name “Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta”, as it consists of an integration of the area of the Este city, which had already been listed in 1995.
In explaining their decision, the committee exalted the extraordinary natural ecosystem which was closely bound to the city between the 14th and 16th centuries.
The Park Consortium “directs” the Park. Since 1996 the Park has benefited from the existence of the “Consortium for the management of the Regional Po Delta Park”. It has been formed by the two provinces (Ferrara and Ravenna), and nine municipalities which have areas or which are entirely located within the Park (Comacchio, Argenta, Ostellato, Goro, Mesola, Codigoro, Ravenna, Alfonsina, Cervia) and has a special set of by-laws which regulate its activity.
The purpose of the “Consortium”, via its bodies, is to coordinate and bring together activities for the promotion of the territory.  A Technical and Scientific Committee and a Park Council form valuable elements for the “work” of the managing bodies, or rather, the Assembly (formed by the presidents of the two provinces and the mayors of the municipalities) and the Board of Directors. The Consortium is located in Comacchio (Ferrara)
For further information: www.podeltatourism.it - Natural environments

The Regional Park of the Po delta in Emilia-Romagna covers areas which are considered some of the most productive and rich in biodiversity. The Park possesses the most extensive protected wetlands in Italy, areas of exceptional ecological value.
It is a territory rich in natural environments which host hundreds of species of flora and fauna. The high number of species present is closely tied to the diversity of the habitats present, which are expressed with forms and adaptations particular to the various chemical and physical conditions of the land and the climate.
The particular geomorphological conformity of the land, although not evident to the untrained eye, has allowed for the establishment of woodlands with evergreen and deciduous vegetation. There is only a scant trace of the Eliceo woodlands mentioned in historical manuscripts, which can be found on the ancient dunes of the Ferrarese coastline. In the Ravenna area, the more recent woodlands are filled with domestic and maritime pines: the pine groves.
Important elements in the landscape of the delta are the valleys and the wet areas. The brackish valleys originated from the flooding of depressed areas of land with seawater or by human intervention for production purposes (fishing, salt pans).
The Park area is the location of one of the few examples in continental Europe of fresh water wetlands: the Argenta and Marmorta valleys, which have been spared from reclamation thanks to their fundamental function as “expansion tanks”.

Flora

There is no complete census of the plant species present in the regional Po Delta Park. Nonetheless, based on data collected over the years by various bodies in individual areas, the presence of at least 970 species can be confirmed, and it is possible to estimate the extent of the diversity: estimates range between 1,000 - 1,100 species present.
This richness is due to the grand diversity of environments present in the Po Delta Park, from the beaches and dunes of the coast to the lagoons and brackish valleys, from the fresh water swamps and wetlands, to the hygrophilous, mesophilic and xeromorphic woodlands.
The Park contains extremely specialised plants bound to the beaches and dunes (psammophilous) or the wetlands (hydrophytes) and their banks (helophytes), whether they are lagoons and brackish valleys (halophile plants) or freshwater swamps and wetlands.
Alongside these we can also find adaptive species, present on the margins of cultivated areas and a large number of species in forest environments, trees, shrubs, and grasses in the undergrowth and in clearings in hygrophilous, mesophilic and xeromorphic woodlands.

Fauna

The fauna in the Po Delta Park is definitely one of the most precious elements of the protected area. A total of more than 460 species of vertebrates have been registered.
The birds of the Po Delta constitute a heritage of extraordinary value, with over 300 species registered over the last ten years, of which over 150 are nested and over 180 are wintering. Such wealth makes the park the most important ornithological areas in Italy, and one of the most important in Europe.
This extraordinary diversity of species is due to the grand environmental complexity of the Delta, which for many species, represents a true national and European haven, with a number of emergency situations which represent true rarities on an international level, such as the pygmy cormorant, the only colony in western Europe, the lesser crested tern, with the only nested pair in the entire continent, and the flamingo, with one of the few European colonies.

The beaches of the Lidi di Comacchio

Nowadays characterised by wide roads and a concentration of shops and restaurants near the beach, the Lidi di Comacchio are a tourist destination which is rich in fun and entertainment.

Tourism in the Lidi Ferrarese, composed of the 7 Lidi di Comacchio, offers long beaches and clean sea for holidays suited to everyone, from families to the very young who will find opportunities for sport and social activities here. 
Estate agents in the Lidi Ferrraresi offer houses to rent which are suitable for all requirements, and the hotels offer every comfort. 

At Lido di Pomposa you can sunbathe or go for a walk, while your children play and bathe in complete safety. 
Here, as with the other lidos, it is possible to practice sport, to meet in the pubs, restaurants and pizzerias, and to go on excursions in valleys and oases.

European Blue Flag

The Lidi di Comacchio have been awarded the European Blue Flag for their beaches. Set up in 1987, the Blue Flag Campaign is managed in various countries by the FEE, the Foundation for Environmental Education.
The Blue Flag is assigned according to criteria which regard the waters of the coastal area, services for bathers, security measures and environmental education. They are characteristics which allow the achieving of standards necessary for the awarding of the important recognition.
Here are a few examples:

  • complete conformity of the bathing water with no visible surface signs of pollution
  • beaches kept constantly clean and fitted with bins
  • a balance between beach activity and respect for nature
  • access for people with disabilities
  • efficient and easily accessible beach services and a total ban on unauthorised camping
  • life belts and rescue boats
  • environmental initiatives involving both tourists and residents and no discharge of industrial waters or sewage near the beaches.