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The epic of the Great Ferrara Reclamation

Itinerary: Ferrara (0 km), idrovora di Baura (22 km), Tresigallo (41 km), Codigoro (74 km), Abbazia di Pomposa (82 km), Volano (91 km), idrovora di Marozzo (112 km), Comacchio (129 km), Ostellato (151 km), idrovora di Saiarino (181 km), Traghetto (202 km), Ferrara (237 km)


Duration: 48 hours
Total distance: km 237
Difficulty: easy
When: from April to October
Motorcycle: any



We leave Ferrara behind us and with it, the splendor of Palazzo Ducale, still surrounded and defended by the waters of the Po which here were divided, almost as if embracing the city, into two branches: the Po di Primaro and the Po di Volano. It is following the course of the latter that this journey came about, to discover the territories that the epic of the Great Reclamation brought to light through the incessant work of man who transformed, with wheelbarrows and the strength of his arms but above all that of the large dewatering pumps from the second half of the 19th century, the lake basin squeezed in between the Po to the north, the Reno to the south, the Panaro to the west and the sea to the east in the infinite expanse of cultivated fields that we now are crossing. Just a few kilometers from Ferrara we come across the first two dewatering plants which, with their pumps, have governed the water regime of this territory since the second half of the 19th century, raising and conveying the water collected from the canals into the river. 


It is by following its bank that we arrive first at Tresigallo, the Metaphysical Town which represents the highest example of the beauty achieved by Italian Rationalism in the early 1900s, and then Codigoro which, with its five plants, is one of the most significant complexes in both Italian hydraulic reclamation and that of the world, capable of raising the water collected in the basins up to five meters to dump it into the river for the last run up to Volano where it flows into the sea. Enchanted by the magnificence of Pomposa Abbey, having just touched upon Bertuzzi Valley with its large colony of pink flamingos and having visited the Marozzo water pumping plant, we arrive at Comacchio, the Queen of the valleys where the eel thrives. 


We leave its extraordinary eighteenth-century monuments to follow the navigable canal which dumps its waters governed by the dewatering plants of the valleys and arrive first at Ostellato and then at Portomaggiore. Consandolo, Argenta and here we are at the dewatering pump and Saiarino with its stupendous Museum of Reclamation, capable of telling stories of extraordinary men and machines. Going up the course of the Reno river we are in Traghetto to rediscover the ancient course of the Po di Primaro, for a long time the main branch of the Great River. And it is following the bends of its ancient course that we return to the town of the Este family where the waters of the Primaro branch become one again with those of the Po di Volano.




Last update 10/04/2024