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Bergantino



Visualizza Bergantino in una mappa di dimensioni maggiori

Bergantino

The different stories and legends connected to the origins of the place name of this town are quite fascinating; from “brigantinum”, the “small ship” used by the people of Ostiglia to sail along the river mentioned by Plinio il Vecchio; to the Celtic tribe known as the “Briganti” who from their original settlements around the Costanza lake descended the Paduan Plain to settle in this area; to the last hypothesis, probably the most likely, according to which the name derives from the Greek expression “brakous anthos” with its poetic meaning of “flowering marshland”.

Bergantino too has a lengthy history; from the prehistoric settlements in a large marsh with islands and pile-dwelling, to the Roman rule, until the sovereignty of the Estensi which lasted over 600 years.  Today, Bergantino is one of the most characteristic towns of the Polesine, gathered under the imposing banks of the Po, vital centre of the so-called “fairground-ride country” as it is specialised in the manufacture of fairground machinery which is exported worldwide.  Alongside this trade represented by 120 businesses, there is also a local community of travelling performers who seasonally take their attractions to town squares all over Italy.  Their history is well documented by the Museo della Giostra e dello Spettacolo Popolare (Museum of fairground attractions and popular entertainment), a journey into the fantastical and magical stories of the travelling fairs from the Middle Ages to the present day.  As well as the seventeenth-century Palazzo Strozzi which houses the Museo della Giostra, in the main square stands the Castello Diani which from medieval fort was transformed into a stately home, the Dean’s church of St. Giorgio with its interior decorated with the works of art of Lorenzo Costa and Giuseppe Maria Crespi.  To conclude a visit to Bergantino it is worth climbing the bank of the Po to admire one of the largest flood plains of the river: extending over 23 hectares, it is a little Amazon offering refuge to many species of birds and amphibians.  The richness and biological evolution of this delicate ecosystem is illustrated by the Centro Ambientale del Territorio (local environmental centre) through a series of dioramas and reconstructions.