In this chapter we talk about a unique ecosystem of its kind, unique throughout Europe, every living organism interacts with the environment that surrounds it, creating a dynamic balance. We are talking about the Regional Park of the Po Delta.
Established in 1997, the Regional Park of the Po Delta is the largest wetland in Europe and in the Mediterranean area, with about 700 square kilometers of land and water, still evolving today, thanks to the amount of sediments reaching the sea from the Po river. At the mouth of the river, where the fresh and salty waters are mixed, silts, clays and fine sands deposit and emerge by creating the benches and therefore a new coastline.
Here where earth and water meet, in these apparently all equal views, you can be inspired by the call of nature, which hides many surprises. The Regional Park of the Po Delta has an extraordinary natural ecosystem and a unique territory of its kind which has been recognized World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Winds and vegetation create and form new dunes, creating natural barriers that are formed by interaction with water and make up the lagoons that over time, with the addition of other alluvial sediments, bring out new magnificent territories.
The colors of the park follow the rhythm of the seasons and the alternation of vegetation, from the uniform tones of the reeds to the water lilies that grow spontaneously in the swamp. It is a landscape that counts pine woods and woodlands, alternating between fishing valleys and lagoons, fossil dunes and cultivated fields, floodplains, coves and coastal sandbars.
Man has often controlled nature in the course of history, but in the end nature has always took the lead. Over the years, since the Greek-Etruscan era, this natural building dynamics has been managed by the man who has modified the lagoons by reclaiming them and making them fertile lands, preventing the natural covering and turning them into fishing valleys.
In the course of history several hydraulic works have been carried out for drainage along with reclamation works and deviations of many waterways that turned out to be useful for agriculture and the safeguard of the territory.
The current Delta has been built by the work of man in 1604, when the Most Serene Republic of Venice noticed the powerful building force of the Po river and, in order to prevent the covering of the Venice lagoon, operated a deviation of the river in the current town of Taglio di Po, diverting the waters to south-east and creating the actual Po Delta in less than two hundred years.
The fertile lands that emerged were exploited by the Most Serene Republic of Venice by selling them to noble Venetians, who used them for cultivation or as second homes. The various areas, the islands and the branches of the Po river still bear the names of the families, for example Ca ‘Tiepolo, Ca’ Venier, Ca ‘Dolfin.
The mouth of the Po is a place that seems motionless, impassive to the flow of life, but if we observe it carefully we will discover that there is nothing more dynamic and complex as the fresh waters that meet the brackish sea.It is a place that you fall in love at first glance even if sometimes, the Great Po River can hide many secrets as an old venetian expression recites: “pare bon, diventa paròn cativo”.
Here we find all the main colonies of birds in the Mediterranean, which come here to deposit their eggs on the coastal sandbars, such as coral gulls, oystercatchers, avocets, Black-winged stilts, the red heron and the marsh harrier.
In Autumn the colonies that are looking for milder climate arrive from northern Europe. In the Regional Park of the Po Delta there are several environments, each with its own peculiar characteristics such as: the countryside with the various crops, the fossil dunes, the artificial banks to prevent the tides, the floodplains with their hydraulic importance and the fishing valleys.
If you don’t have plenty of time, we suggest you visit this area with expert local guides in order to capture the continuous change of the river mouth and the hidden secrets of these places.