For those who love nature and want to live an experience riding his bike or trekking, the “Salt Route” is definitely an idea to keep in mind, at least once in your life! It is a 278 km long route that starts from Cervia and arrives in Venice through the Po Emiliano-Romagnolo Delta Park and Veneto and offers participants the vision and discovery of truly extraordinary places.
The itinerary is parallel to the “Salt Route by sea”, prepared for historic boats that, with their load of salt, depart from the Salina di Cervia to reach the Serenissima. The route develops between areas and nature reserves very famous, such as:
Valli di Comacchio;
Oasis of Volano;
Bosco della Mesola;
Valleys of the Veneto Delta;
At the same time, it passes through cities such as Ravenna, Chioggia and Comacchio before arriving in Venice, offering stops in very interesting places to see and visit.
Route of the Salt Route
The Salt Route consists of 6 parts, each characterized by paths, landscapes and views that can simply leave you breathless; here they are in detail:
Cervia – Ravenna (23 kilometres)
The first phase of the Salt Route takes place between the Ravenna pinewoods of Cervia and Classe, passing also in the area of the mouth of the river Bevano and between the reserves of Ortazzo and Ortazzino. It is the most unspoilt coastal area with the highest level of biodiversity in the upper Adriatic. After leaving the Classe pine forest, you can admire the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare, a preview of the city of Ravenna, known worldwide for its mosaics.
Not to be missed:
the Salt Warehouses, which together with the San Michele Tower are witnesses of the life and economy of the ancient Salt City;
the pine forest of Cervia, a real green lung extended for 210 hectares;
the Bevano Mouth and the Magic Cube;
Pineta di Classe, a wooded complex that includes 80 kilometers of paths;
the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare, one of the most important early Christian buildings in the world.
Ravenna – Marina Romea (27 kilometres)
Continuing you arrive in Ravenna, where you can keep the view of the sea; you can cross natural and unspoilt stretches of beach alternating with bathing areas widely equipped.
Not to be missed:
the coastal pine forests of Ravenna, which wind along the coast;
coastal dunes, natural habitats of rare plant species;
the Piallassa Baiona, a rest area and nesting area for many species of birds.
Marina Romea – Comacchio (48 kilometres)
The territory in question is very varied thanks to the presence of coastal forests, river banks and valleys; this allows hikers to enjoy the most beautiful nature that the plain of Romagna can offer and where, Even today, very ancient activities take place such as eel fishing and land cultivation.
Not to be missed:
Pineta San Vitale, the oldest and largest among the pinewoods of Ravenna;
the Fattoria Guiccioli, a historic place linked to the events of Garibaldi;
the Furlana Valley, where flamingos love to take refuge;
the Casone Donnabona, with ancient fishing stations;
the Bettolino di Foce, a small restaurant offering eel and marinated dishes;
Ponte dei Trepponti, an ancient fortified gate of Comacchio.
Comacchio – Porto Tolle (73 kilometres)
After passing the Gran Bosco della Mesola and the Oasis of Volano, in Goro there is a meeting with the river Po; here it is very famous the fishing of clams and, not by chance, you can admire a large number of boats and fishing boats equipped for this ancient activity.
Not to be missed:
Porto Garibaldi, famous for being the place where Garibaldi was rescued by the Austrians in 1849;
the Mouth of the Po of Volano;
the Great Forest of Mesola, populated by deer and fallow deer;
the Sacca di Goro, habitat of clams and mussels;
the pontoon bridges of the Po Delta;
the Oasis of Cà Mello, a freshwater swamp surrounded by greenery;
The Sacca degli Scardovari, the largest lagoon in the Po Delta.
Porto Tolle – Chioggia (65 kilometres)
The area between the rivers Po and Adige is rich in water, alternating with structures made by human labor. Here civilization and nature meet and collaborate effectively, leaving untouched memorable landscapes.
Not to be missed:
the Po di Maistra, the most natural and suggestive area of the Po Delta;
the Po Veneto Delta Valleys;
the Cycle Path and the mouth of the Adige river, the arrival point of the bike route from Verona;
the city of Chioggia, nicknamed “the little Venice” because of the high presence of bridges and canals.
Chioggia – Venice (46 kilometres)
The last part of the itinerary is “mixed”, as it is covered a bit by bike and a bit by boat. The landscape that is the backdrop is that of the Venice Lagoon, which welcomes participants in an atmosphere of ancient flavor and slow pace extremely pleasant.
Not to be missed:
The Murazzi of Caroman, a large dam built in Istrian stone to defend the Venice Lagoon;
the Venice Lagoon, an unmissable stretch of water;
the Lagoon Cycle Route, which allows you to ride alongside the water;
the Dam and the Alberoni Lighthouse, a 450 meter long stone strip that flows into the sea;
Malamocco, an ancient maritime village, home to the first Venetian settlers;
Lido di Venezia, a historic seaside resort.
The Park of the Po Delta
The Po Delta Park is one of the most famous and important wetlands in Europe, as well as the largest in Italy, capable of hosting hundreds of animal and plant species. The secrets it holds inside are many, so much so that it turns out to be a dream for naturalists, biologists, tourists and birdwatchers!
The Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, occupies 64thousand hectares spread over two regions and hosts more than 400 animal species and almost 1000 plant species. The beating heart is the Po River, the undisputed protagonist of the entire Po Valley and the architect of the changes that have characterized the history of the populations that have inhabited the Delta: continuously changing its course, in fact, has given rise to numerous beds that, As a result, they proved to be starting points for new settlements.
Throughout history, the Po River has been a great resource for water supply, fishing, irrigation and trade. The populations had to get used to the alternation between periods of floods and periods of lean, adapting their lives and activities, maintaining a constant and respectful relationship with the surrounding woods, pine forests and forests.
Even today, the Delta is a dynamic environment, constantly evolving, where nature can change at any time giving extraordinary shows.
The localities of the Po Delta
The Po Delta is dotted with numerous locations that, inside, enjoy unique and memorable features. Anyone who is visiting, therefore, should take the opportunity to make some stops, walk and go to discover the most characteristic places.
The town of Argenta is among the major centers of Ferrara and fully represents the style and modern architecture, since it was rebuilt following the Second World War. Just outside stands the Pieve di San Giorgio, the oldest of the hinterland of Ferrara, which, along with the natural landscape, is the most interesting area of the province and favorite destination of many water birds.
Riva del Po
The town of Riva del Po, on the border with Veneto, was born from the merger of the municipalities of Berra and Ro in 2019. It is, therefore, straddling two territories deeply marked by the different deviations of the Po made over the centuries, so it is quite difficult to reconstruct exactly the evolution. In any case, it is recommended to visit it and see closely the beauty of its territory.
Its original name is Caput Gauri and, even today, is an important agricultural center of the lower Ferrara; it is Codigoro, located at the meeting point between the branch of Po di Goro and the branch of Po di Volano. It offers a wonderful view of the river and, crossing the Cavallotti Riviera, you reach the Bishop’s Palace, built in the Venetian style.
From the union of the municipalities of Massa Fiscaglia, Migliaro and Migliarino arose the village of Fiscaglia, along the Volano. It is a completely flat area and, in part, placed below sea level. Before careful reclamation operations, the country was characterized by valleys, swamps and bumps.
Comacchio, also called “little Venice”, is a lagoon city that leaves you speechless: characterized by a vitality deriving from the history and the landscape, it shows polite and genuine and is full of natural beauty and historical evidence. Thanks to the presence of 7 beaches, it is an ideal destination to spend holidays with family and/ or friends.
The name of Goro derives from “Gaurus”, that is an old branch of the Po derived from the Volano. Always an important fishing port, its history is dotted with continuous struggles between man and the waters of the river. From here many boats leave to discover the natural environment of the deltizio to get to the sea.
Jolanda di Savoia
The town of Jolanda di Savoia overlooks the Po Delta Park and is famous for its rice fields where the typical rice of the Delta PGI is grown. Initially, the village was called “Le Venezie”, then changed in 1911 on the birth of the daughter of Vittorio Emanuele III.
Of unknown origins, but probably pre-Roman, the town was originally called only Lake to become Lagosanto around the year 1000 for having been the home of a monk bandaettino, Sant’Appiano. Before the reclamation carried out by the fascist regime, Lagosanto was surrounded by valleys; later, it became an agricultural center of great importance.
The village of Mesola developed around the Estense Castle by the will of Alfonso II, who deeply loved hunting; currently, it is the Natural Reserve of the Gran Bosco della Mesola, where the deer of the Dunes lives protected and undisturbed. Moreover, it is a reference point for those who want to discover the nature of the Po Delta Park.
The town of Ostellato is of Roman origin and is located near a river access road, which makes it rich in large farmland and cultivated. Nearby is the Oasis of the Vallette di Ostellato, a destination recommended for lovers of birdwatching, fishing and cycling.
Portomaggiore is a highly agricultural town that, on its territory, houses the famous Delizia Estense del Verginese, one of the residences of the Estensi of rectangular shape, two floors and bordered by four crenellated towers. It is connected to a private chapel by an eighteenth-century porch and, behind it, enjoys a Renaissance garden and a dovecote.
The village of Alfonsine is located in the hinterland of the plain of Ravenna and is a good starting point to reach the Po Delta Park and the city of Ravenna. It is a new resort, rebuilt after the bombings of World War II. Its valleys and the Nature Reserve are part of the Po Delta Regional Park.
In the hinterland of Ravenna lies Bagnavacallo, with its strategic position that allows you to easily reach the Po Delta Park, Ravenna, Faenza, Bologna and Ferrara. It is a city of art, a destination for curious and passionate attracted by the ancient historical core built on an original medieval plant.
The town of Cervia is located on the Romagna coast. Thanks to the presence of green areas and the harmony between the environment and tourism, it has been awarded the EMAS label and the Blue Flag since 1998. It is a true natural oasis with 300 hectares of pine forests, 827 hectares of salt marshes and 185 bathing establishments.
To the north-west of Lugo rises Conselice, known since Roman times as a port of inland waters and a hub for trade between Imola and Venice. Because of its strategic position, its original name was Caput Silicis. Currently, it offers the visit of curious monuments and excellent gastronomy.
The city of Ravenna is synonymous with art and culture, and is known throughout the world for its mosaics, both for having been understood three times: the Western Roman Empire, the Gothic Kingdom under Theoderic then, and last of the Byzantine Empire in Europe. The magnificence of its past has allowed eight of its buildings to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Moreover, the city preserves the remains of Dante Alighieri and for this reason alone it is a tourist destination of great interest.
The town of Russi has a history of 2,000 years, with a historic center that houses the seventeenth-century Palazzo San Giacomo and the beautiful Delizia dei Rasponi. In the city you can visit the archaeological complex of Villa Romana, the Aquarium and the Pinacoteca.
The ecomuseums of the Po Delta Park
The Po Delta Park offers visitors various eco-museums, that is, cultural institutions and institutions that, thanks to the support of local communities, ensure research, conservation, protection and enhancement of all cultural heritage (material and intangible) representing the territory and the landscape. They also prove to be a valuable means of participation granted to the inhabitants to contribute to the development and management of the community.
UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
The Po Delta Park enjoys two Unesco awards: the first is from 1999, assigned to the Ferrara part of the Po Delta, while the second dates back to 2015 and concerns the registration of the Veneto part among the Unesco Biosphere Reserves. The latter, specifically, consist of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems within which the enhancement of the ecosystem and its biodiversity are perfectly combined, in an excellent management of the territory.
Po Delta Park and food and wine
Finally, it is impossible not to try the local food and wine that collects only the best products offered by the territory. Only in the areas of the Po delta, in fact, you can taste the typical asparagus of Mesola and radicchio that, usually, accompany the Carnaroli rice, or the eel of Comacchio, the pumpkin, the clams of Goro and the inevitable Vini delle Sabbie.
The crops that are grown along the Po Delta benefit from the properties of the debris transported by the waters of the river and deposited in adjacent lands; that is why the typical local dishes are genuine, tasty and healthy and are among the best characteristics to appreciate this extraordinary area.