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Porto Tolle

Drifting on the water

Visualizza Scivolando sul filo dell'acqua in una mappa di dimensioni maggiori


Starting location:  Papozze
Place of arrival:  Porto Tolle
Municipalities crossed:  Papozze, Corbola, Taglio di Po, Porto Viro, Loreo, Rosolina, Porto Tolle


Scivolando sul filo dell'acquaThe water becomes the predominant element, both visually and conceptually: it yields and we, with appropriate means of transport, are able to set off to discover the Great River.
Our journey starts with the Po di Venezia, the major branch of the Po river, at the level of the Volta Grimana navigation basin, an imposing construction joining the Delta with Po di Levante and the Litoranea Veneta, the ancient coastal route dating back to the Venetian Republic which leads to Venice; from here, exploiting the current but paying due attention to the river signals, we set off downstream, surrounded by a wonderful landscape. A mix of green, the colour of the lush vegetation, and of the blue of the clear sky, which mirrors in the river. Our rhythm is Po’ rhythm. Peace sets in.
We soon leave the Po di Venezia for the Po di Maistra branch, the senile branch of the great river. It was the branch with the highest discharge until the end of the seventeenth century, when its transformation began. Today the water, in largely inferior quantity, has found meanders, holms, lagoons and delightful valleys. A thick vegetation shades the first strectch of the river like a huge natural umbrella, creating an ideal habitat for hundreds of animal species.
Going back to the river’s inlet we head downstream for a short stretch and we enter the Po delle Tolle, on the right, an environment characterized by the typical cane field, shrubby vegetation. Wide sandy and lagoon areas can be seen on the left.
A short stop to collect some wonderful shells, a refreshing swim in the Adriatic sea and, why not, a weird-shaped piece of wood given to us by the sea after one of its storms.
The overnight stay at the public or private moorings of the one of the Delta organized ports provides us with the privilege of being awaken by the ear-splitting singing of the hundreds of autochthonous bird species: herons, grebes, dabchicks and many more.
There are several possibilities within this natural paradise, since the Delta counts seven navigable branches: besides those mentioned so far, there are the Po di Levante, characterized by a fishermen village with the same name and by tourist ports, the Po della Donzella (a.k.a Po di Gnocca), which wanders among the villages of Ca’ Vendramin, Santa Giulia, Gorino, the Po di Goro, historically the boundary between the Provinces of Rovigo and Ferrara, today a strong and winding element of cohesion between the towns of Goro, Mesola, Ariano and S.Basilio.
But our time is up and we have to go back to our base. We will be back, though, in order to visit what we could not and to taste once again the appeal and the rhythm of the calm waters of the Great River.
In order to be complete, a Po Delta excursion should foresee a stop in adria, an ancient town after which the Adriatic sea was named. Many centuries before Christ, Adria was an extremely important harbour and thus an important point of reference for Greeks and etruscas who highly contributed to the social and cultural growth of the area by co-operating with the Veneto inhabitants. The first important findings of Greek and Etruscan art date back to the 6th century b.C and they can be admired with the local findings at the National Museum of Archeology: these were found mostly in the necropolis and document the importance of the area during the roman age.
During the dark centuries of the Middle Ages Adria re-emerged becoming archbishop’s residence; some archbishops managed to free the area from Ravenna’s control and widened their competence area to Rovigo. During the 12th century the town was controlled by the Estensi family until the beginning of 1500 when Venice extended its dominion on Polesine.
In the past, the town was connected to the sea by a channel named “Adria Po”: in the Middle Ages the town developed around the island created by the two channels of Canalbianco. The southern channel was silted un in 1936 while a new channel for internal navigation was dug and flows into the Adriatic sea through the Levante Po.

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