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Adria at the Po Delta

Visualizza Adria, alle porte del Delta in una mappa di dimensioni maggiori


Starting location:  Adria
Place of arrival:  Adria
Municipalities crossed:  Adria, Adria


Itinerario7The Cathedral, north, and the chiesa dell’Assunta (church of the assumption) called Chiesa della Tomba (Church of the Tomb)- south, represent two important references for the itinerary along the town roads to discover its artistic and environmental peculiarities which are connected to the original traditions of the past. The Cathedral was rebuilt many times. The final intervention took place between the 18th and the 19th centuries. Its interior is decorated with works of art dating back to 1800, mainly frescos by the painter Sebastiano Santi; highly prestigious are the seventeenth-century closets of the sacristy, wood-carving by Giacomo piazzetta, coming from the closeschool of Charity in Venice. The Coptic art bas-relief of the 5th century has a highly historical value: it is embedded in the third column which divides the central nave from the left aisle and represents The Virgin Mary on the throne with the baby between archangels Michael and Gabriel. Nearby the church there is a temple dedicated to saint John the Baptists through which it is possible to enter the Cathedral crypt. This is actually the apse of probably the first church of adria; extremely important is the fresco which represents the Apostles which dates back to the 6th-8th century.
The Cathedral dominates Piazza Garibaldi which is also overlooked by historical buildings and by the Bishop’s Residence on the side. The back of the Cathedral overlooks Via U.Maddalena which leads to the train station. Among the 20th century buildings of this street Villa Mecenati(built in 1930) is the most important as it is the seat of the academy of Music.
On the banks of Canalbianco, in Riviera Mattetotti we find the nineteenth-century Palazzo Casellati, and across the river the Teatro Comunale (municipal theatre) built in 1935 by the architect G.B. Scarpari. The back quarter is called Cannaregio and in the past it was populated mostly by fishermen and ditch reed pickers.
The main street is called Corso Vittorio Emanuele: here we can find shops and some historical buildings such as Palazzo Tassoni seat of the Municipality. This is a pedestrian street where we can admire Galleria Braghin (gallery) which was recently restored, Piazzetta Luigi Grotto, a square named after the 16th century humanist also known as the blind man of Adria, Piazzetta S.Nicola overlooked by the homonymic temple dedicated to the fallen, re-built by Architect Scarpari. The temple shows a wide portal proceeded by two big bronze lions by sculptor Gaetano Samoggia. Towards the end of the street we can admire the beautiful Giardini Scarpari with an artistic fountain by sculptor Samoggia.
We now reach The Church of Santa Maria Assunta (Our Lady of the Assumption) also called Tomb after an ancient sepulchre probably dating back to the Roman age. The church has a Baroque façade dating back to the 15th century while the bell-tower was erected during the last century after a desing by G.B. Scarpari which was inspired by S.Marco bell-tower in Venice. According to the tradition, the existing base belonged to an ancient light-house. On the left side of the church we can admire a Roman octagonal baptismal basin with inscriptions dating back to the 8th century and a chapel with a beautiful fresco representing the Virgin Mary of the year 1400. The famous Dormition Virgins terra cotta by Michele da Firenze dates back to the same century and is located in the first chapel on the right.
Upon leaving the centre of Adria, on the road to Lorea and to the sea we find the VII maria Museum and the Ostello dell’ Amolara (Amolara Hostel) in the building which was once the 17th century stean water-scooping machine. The small museum is dedicated to the history of the land reclaiming: the museum was named after Plinio’s definition of the marshland which surrounded Adria, the so called Seven Seas or Adrian Marshland.
If the Po Delta is well-known for its wet area, full of animal patrimony which reproduces or rests during the periodic flight of winter or spring migration, its flora cannot be neglected, which in its naturalistic aspect causes a great variety of well-balanced and dynamic elements. Each area in the Delta presents particular features of environmental, morphological, vegetative and zoological aspects which clearly distinguish themselves; particular aspects where surviving remains of nature, almost disappeared, mingle with new animal and vegetable elements developing new systems. At Porto Caleri, in the extreme part of the littoral of Rosolina, southwards, in almost 24 hectares  among beach, dunes, depressed areas and lagoons it is possible to see what nature forces could make in over four centuries and what the Regional Forest service, thanks to the Biology Departement of the University of Padua could exploit with didactic routes, cleaning interventions and building a Visitor Centre. That’s the Botanical Garden of Porto Caleri. The careful choice of  routes, according to their natural evolution, can show the vegetation of the sandy littoral, the beach, the coastal wood or the lagoons in their brackish environment.
In the first route, the vegetative succession permits to admire the slow and advancing  towards the sea and the slow and inexorable consolidation of emersed land; on the beach close to the shore-line, it is possiblr to see the first vegetable species, the “Ravestrello” (Cakile Maritima), the “Nappola” (Xanthium Italicum), the “Calcatrappola” (Eryngium Maritimum), with their seasonal development; the “Gramigna delle spiagge” (Agropyron Junceum), the “Vilucchio marittimo” or “Soldanella” (Calystegia Soldanella), the “Eringio”; in the higher position of the dunes we can find the “Sparto pungente” (Ammophilia Littoralis), the “Finocchio litorale” (Echinophora Spinosa), the “Erba medica marina” (Medicago Marino), the “Euforbia” (Euphorbia Paralias). In this place, in summertime, it is possible to see pleinful flowering of  “Elicriso” (Helichrysum Italicum). Going towards the inland it is possible to see the typical vegetation of more lasting dunes, the “Tortuleto-Scabioseto”, an uncommon environment only in the littoral of Caleri, and it has a logical explanation, the littoral of Rosolina precedes the Taglio di Porto Viro (about 1600); these secular dunes and this typical vegetation, with plants and lichens of typical steppe origin and alpine environment, residuals of the last glaciations, took a long time before adapting and installing themselves. They are a real rarity, among musk and lichens, we find the “Vedovina delle spiaggie” (Scabiosa Argentea), the “Coda di Topo” (Lagurus Ovatus), the “Eliantemo maggiore” (Helianthenum Nummularium), the “Elicriso” (Helichrysum Italicum), “Asparago pungente” (Asparagus Acutifolius). The route continues across wet depressed dunes with marshy vegetation and on higher dunes with vegetable shrubs: the “Ginepro commune” (Juniperus Communis), the “Olivello spinoso” (Hippophae Rhammoides), “Caprifoglio” (Lonicera Etrusca), prelude to the ilex grove, the pine-wood of the “Pino marittimo e domestico” (P.Pinaster and P.Pinea) as a consequence of an affore station during the 50’s, full of uncommon elements such as the orchids: Cephalanthera, Ophrys and Orchis. The other route, mainly of valley aspect, goes along sandbanks with a thick vegetation, typical in lands with a strong salinity: “Salicornia perenne” (Arthrocnemum Fruticosum), the “Obione” (Halimione Portulacoides), the “Limonio” (Limontium Serotinum), the “Astro Marino” (Aster Tripolium) and thanks to footbridges it is possible to cross small tide canals with seasonalvegetation: the “Salicornia Veneta”, the “Suaeda marittima” and “Salsola Soda”. The path continues along dune lands where the vegetation and the dunes develop together with: “Juncus maritimus”, “Inula crithmoides”, which favour the presence of a typical avifauna in valley areas that before dawn and at sunset can be seen closely.

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