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Home Apennines and Nature Po Delta The Po Delta in the Province of Ferrara

The Po Delta in the Province of Ferrara

Along the Po River, in the heart of the Delta Park, almost on the border with the province of Rovigo, there is the Natural Reserve of the Mesola Woods.  During the reign of the Estense dukes, it was part of a unique forest full of game, which stretched from the sea to the fifth century Mesola Castle. Even today, one can admire this Estense Delight, with its Environmental Education Center and the Deer or Sand Dune Deer Museum, an animal that lives in the Great Woods.


Mesola Castle


A true monument of natural history (2,614.37 acres), the shady Great Woods, a hunting ground of the Estense for more than two centuries, has conserved the aspect and allure of the many ancient forests that once populated the Adriatic coast. Its star is most certainly the live oaks, but one can also find manna ashes, junipers, phillyreas, English oaks, ashes, elms, poplars and European hornbeams.


The reserve, besides the Sand Dune Deer, the only species native to Italy, hosts fallow-deer, mammals such as badgers, skunks, foxes and numerous aquatic birds – herons, night-herons, ducks, coots, woodpeckers and hoopoes, bee eaters and kingfishers. The Woods can be visited on foot or by bike. There are also pathways for the blind.


For information and visits to the Estense Castle cell. 339 1935943. For visits to the Great Woods of Mesola: Corpo Forestale dello Stato, Stazione di Bosco Mesola, tel. 0533 794285. For tourist information: Tourist Information Office Mesola, tel. 0533 993358, mail


Bike along the Delta

For those who love to pedal, here the riverbanks offer a bicycle path called the “Destra Po” which from Stellata di Bondeno passes through Goro, then on to Gorino and up to the Lanterna Vecchia and, by boat, even up to the Goro Lighthouse, the last little bit of land stretching out to sea where the river ends its journey draining out into the Adriatic.


The old fishing town of Goro is characterized by an evocative modern fishing port, among the biggest of the Adriatic. The “Pocket” of Goro which lies in front of the town, is an ideal habitat for growing mussels, oysters and clams which can be bought as they are being unloaded from boats. From here to the nearby Gorino, the tourist boats help visitors enjoy the magnificent glimpses of this delta environment, always fascinating and changing, among rolling banks which host limicolas, sterns, and seagulls.


Along the antique Romea Street, there is the Pomposa Abbey. This incredible example of Romanesque art represents the remnants of a monastery that was in its heyday in the Middle Ages.  Near the elegant building, which houses a treasure of very well-made third century frescoes and mosaic and tarsia floors, there is a tourist area with a convenient parking lot, a great starting place for visiting the interesting places of the Po Delta Park.


Tourist Information:  Pomposa Abbey Tourist Information Office, tel. and fax 0533 719110, email


Going south, leaving the seaside resorts behind, one reaches Comacchio, a particular lagoon area built in the late Roman period on thirteen little islands, famous for its canals and characteristic monuments, among which are the spectacular Trepponti bridge and the Marinade Factory.


Cross the San Pietro Bridge and the banks of the Fattibello Marsh and you reach the Visitors’ Center of the Marshes, Foce Station.  From here you can go on many tours, either on foot, by bike, or by motorboat, of the ancient fishing huts, or “casoni”, where fishermen once lived.




Connecting the marshes, there is the Salt-works, alternating between canals, dunes, and pools of water for the harvesting of this precious white gold; it is also home to many beautiful species of birds, including the pink flamingo.


A beautiful panorama of the Comacchio Marshes can be seen going along the western side of the marsh system up to the banks of the Reno River to the south, where one can look out over the Boscoforte peninsula, home to other flamingoes, avocets, and pied stilts.


For information about excursions by boat in the marshes and salt flats, on foot or by bike: Marsh and salt flat tourist office of Comacchio tel. 340 2534267 and Visitor's Center of the Po Delta Park, Marinade Factory, tel. 0533 81742, email For tourist info: Tourist Information Office Comacchio, tel. 0533 314154, email


Along the boarder of the province of Ravenna, there is Argenta, with its natural oases, parish churches, sanctuaries and museums.  Along the via Cardinala, there are the six most important stations of the Po Delta Park: the Museum of historic documents of the Drainage of the Water Pump Plant in Saiarino, the Park of the San Giorgio Parish Church and the Ecomuseum’s organizational center, and the Museum of the Marshes with the annex Val Campotto Oasis, a great mirror of a lake where aquatic birds seek shelter surrounded by elms, poplars and ash trees.




Farther north, reachable also by bike from Argenta, along the bike path FE414, there is the Ostellato “Anse Vallive” and then the Porto-Bacino di Bando “Anse Vallive”, freshwater wetlands, with swampy vegetation and hygrophilous woods, beautiful for taking a walk, riding a bike or a horse, or for a boat or canoe trip.


For info and guided excursions of the Museums and the Oasis: Museo delle Valli di Argenta tel. 0532 808058, email For tourist info: Tourist Information Office Argenta, tel. 0532 330276.


There are many events that enliven the Park during the warm weather: an occasion for visitors to discover different environments and to taste the delights of the local products.


For further information:

Ferrara Terra e Acqua

Parco del Delta del Po


> Festivals in the Delta Park


> Get to know the Po Delta Park in the Province of Ravenna

Last modified May 14, 2013

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