Comacchio is built on one of the most characteristic lagoons in Italy. Spread over 13 small islands within the marshes that, until a century ago, covered an area of approximately 80,000hectares.
For many years it was isolated from the rest of Italy, and this isolation lead to the establishment of the unique dialect and the unusual gastronomical specialities.
The origins of this area are late Roman, even though the recent discovery of the Roman vessel "Fortuna Maris" at Valli Poni may lead to believe that Comacchio originates from the Etruscan town of Spina.
The population of able fishermen and navigators have through the centuries sustained this lagoon town with their fishing and trade.
Comacchio was at its greatest during the XVII century, when Cardinal Giovan Battista Pallotta redesigned the architecture of the town building the monuments that today attract the sightseeing tourist to the town centre.
Itinerary for a visit to Comacchio:
The starting point is at the "Trepponti" bridge, near to the car park in via Fattibello.
This monumental bridge is the gate to the town; it was commissioned by Cardinal Pallotta in the first half of the XVII century according to the drawings by the architect Luca Danese.
The Trepponti is made of five stairways in arches; the central stairway leads down to the small square where every morning, inside the fishmongers, the fish market is held. The fishmongers itself dates back to the XVII century.
Along the banks of the canal there are boats called " Batane" which are the typical vessels used in these waters. It is possible to have a sightseeing tour of the town (free of charge) aboard these boats.
Opposite the "Trepponti" there is the "Ponte delle Carceri", translated as the "Jail Bridge" or" delle Sbirri," which date to the first half of the 17th century. Beyond the bridge there are the old prisons (currently council offices) that also date back to the same period. Adjacent to the prisons there is the " Palazzo Bellini" (1866), which has recently undergone restructuring work. It is currently home to the historical archives, the library and also the site of many prestigious exhibitions and exhibits. One of these is the Valle Ponti Roman Vessel.
Opposite the Palazzo Bellini is the building, once home to the San Camillo Hospital, which is soon to become the Po Delta Human Culture Museum. This building was built at the end of the 17th century according to the wishes of Cardinal Francesco Carafa.
To the left of this is the Chapel of Saint Peter and the area to the left of the old hospital is called St Peter's quarter. To the right of this along the road, Via E Fogli, you come across the "Palazzo Vescovile", the Bishop's Palace, and the Palazzo delle Saline, the first dates back to the VIII century and the Bishop resided in this palace until 1986.
At the end of Via E.Fogli you come across the Clock Tower and the nearby merchants lodge or grain house built commissioned by Cardinal Serra during the first half of the XVII century as a grain deposit. Continuing left you arrive at the imposing Cathedral of Saint Cassiano, patron saint of the town. The cathedral dates back to the VIII century and was restructured in the XVII century. Next to the cathedral is the Bell Tower which has recently been restructured.
Along Via Mazzini you will come across the Cappucine lodge dating from the XXVII century which is made up of five hundred and forty three arches that terminate at the Aula Regia Sanctuary.
The tour can be terminated with the church of the Madonna of the Rosary in Via Sanbertolo. It is one of the oldest churches dedicated to the Madonna of Carmine and is situated next to the Pizzetti bridge. You can stop to have something to eat in the Osteria "Fogli Maria Giulia", in the centre of Comacchio, or, time permitting, before your trip through the marshes, at the " Il Bettolino Di Foce" restaurant, which is situated in the middle of the marshes. Unfortunately it is no longer possible to cross bridge so the trip to Bettolino Di Foce is made longer. Leave Comacchio in the direction of Ostallato, before Ostellato turn left, direction Anita, turn left again towards Comacchio,at the end of the long, straight road turn right, this road leads to Bettolino.
The return journey follows the same road, and then follow Anita along the Agosta dam that itself runs along the marshes. Approaching Anita turn left along the dust road "Rotta Martinella" (sign posted Traghetto), proceed for 5 km as far as the Reno dam that on one side is flanked by the magnificent lagoon landscape and the Bosco Forte Penninsular and on the other side by the Reno River, that you cross on the ferry to arrive at Sant'Alberto. To return to the Lidi follow the SS9 Romea road.
The history of Ferrara is linked to the House of Este that once governed the city, for over three centuries, and created one of the richest and most modern cities of that time in Italy.
The House of the Estensi took over the city in the first half of the XII century, with Nicolò II, after whom came Lionello,Borso, Ercole I, Alfonso I, Ercole II and Alfonso II who enriched and improved Ferrara until it became the most modern city in Europe.
It was surrounded by artists such as Pisanello, Piero della Francesca, Dossi, L.B Alberti, Cossa Garofalo, Mantegna, Cosme’ Tura and Guercino, whose works we can still admire today, and writers such as Ariosto and Tasso.
On the death of Alfonso II in 1598 the Estensi had to leave Ferrara, which at that time joined the Pontific State and thence started the long period of decline.
This visit covers one whole day:
The and most convenient point of departure for this visit is at Piazza Travaglio, here there is ample parking space, except for on Mondays which is market day.
At the exit of the car park a left turn takes you into Corso Porta Reno road and in 5 minutes you are in the centre of the town: You will find yourself in piazza Trento Trieste where on the right you have the Cathedral with its solemn marble work and its three cusps. It is considered the most important medieval building in the town, however of no less importance is the adjacent cathedral museum " museo del Duomo" that contains works of art by Cosmè Tura and Jacopo della Quercia.
Opposite the Cathedral is the Clock Tower, "Torre dell' Orologio", which dates back to the 600 and the City Hall, " Palazzo Comunale" which dates to XIII century, which was then a ducal residence of the Estensi family. The small arch carries the statue of Nicolò III d'Este.
Following alongside the city hall and crossing Piazza Savonarola you reach the moat that surrounds the Estense Castle built in 1385 and completed in the XIV century.It is open to visits.
Crossing Corso Giovecca you arrive in the corso Ercole I d'Este, which is the main road of this renaissance quarter.
|••||at number 12 there is a beautiful Renaissance doorway.|
|••||at number 16 there is the palace of Giulio d'Este with its splendid courtyard. It dates to the 15th Century.|
|••||at number 32 there is the Turchi di Bagno Residence also of the same date.|
|••||opposite, number 23, there is the famous Diamante Palace, of the XV century.It is one of the most elegant examples of Renaissance architecture. It is now a National Gallery and hosts many National exhibitions.|
At the end of corso Ercole d'Este on the opposite side of the road is the Massari Park. Turning right along Porta Po you reach Piazza Ariostea that in the months of May hosts the Palio of Ferrara.From Via Palestra you return towards Corso Giovecca that continues to the left until the crossroads with Ugo Bassi road. At this point , remaining in Corso Giovecca you reach the palace of Marfisa d'Este, which is open to the public. Following Via Ugo Bassi until the crossroads with Via Savonarola you reach the University in the Pareschi Palace, on your right. Opposite the University at number 30 there is the Casa dei Romei. This is a typical upper class residence of the 15th century. It is open to the public and contains2 picturesque courtyards an open gallery and internal rooms, of particular interest the Sala delle Sibille.
Returning to Ugo Bassi and turning right into Via madama and then left into Via Sacandiana as far as The Schifanoia Palace that is now home to the civic museum and is open to the public.
Ravenna - Historical hints:
Ravenna’s origins are very ancient, but it was Giulio Cesare to manage to get it into the Roman history, of which it had been the protagonist for 5 centuries.
Ravenna will be chosen as capital of the West Empire by Onorio (402) and so it began the period of maximum splendour, during which thanks to Galla Placidia, Ododacre and Teodorico, was enriched of splendid buildings: such as the Galla Placidia’s Mausoleum, the San Vitale’s Basilica,
the Baptistery, Sant’Apollinare in Classe and the Teodorico’s Mausoleum. These monuments had been untouched in the course of the centuries, which marked an epoch.
After the Longobards’ inavasion began the Venetian Age, which ended in 1509, surrendering Ravenna to the Pope Giulio II.
The Holy See reigned supreme Ravenna till 1850.
To arrive at Ravenna take the SS9 Romea Road (approx 25km).
Following direction towards the centre you will admire, a few hundred metres on your left, the Mausoleum of Teodorico built by the Goth king in 520.
In the car park in front of the information office it is possible to ask for maps and brochures on Ravenna.
We suggest you park in the Piazza Baracca or in the large car park “ Largo Giustiniano” near to the church of Saint Vitale ( open from 8.30am-7.30pm) from which you can begin your sightseeing trip on foot.
The church of Saint Vitale was built after 525. Its octagonal shape and the rich decoration mark the passage from the Classical Roman period to the Byzantine period.
The amazing mosaics (535-545) that cover the walls of the presbetery are a precious historical artefact.
Next to it we find the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, built in the first half of the V Century. It is characterised by its unique latin cross shape and the splendid mosaics that date to 450.
Continuing along Via Cavour you come to the lively centre of modern Ravenna, ideal for shopping, that conyinues to the Piazza del Popolo. Reaching Piazza Garibaldi on the left there is the Alighieri theatre where the Ravenna festival is held. Left along via Mariani and right along via di Roma you come to Saint. Appolinare Nuovo, built by Teodorico at the beginning of the VI Century. l'accompagna un'elegante campanile cilindrico del IX, l'interno a tre navate sostenute da capitelli finemente lavorati, le pareti della navata mediana sono rivestite da mosaici la parte superiore di stile ancora classicheggiante, la parte inferiore di purissimo stile bizantino.
Return towards the centre along via Guaccimanni until piazza Caduti per la libertà.
On the right there is the paizza saint Francesco with iits church dating to the V Century and rebuilt in the X Century.next to the church there is the tomb of Dante Alighieri, who died in Ravenna in 1321.
A pochi metri dalla Biblioteca Classense in via Corrado Ricci, all'enoteca "La ca de ven" potrete pranzare con prodotti tipici.
Continuing from Piazza Caduti to Piazza Kennedy on the left there is the Cathedral on the left of which is the baptistery that dates to the V Century, built in an octagonal shape.
Return to the car along via Oberdan and by returning to via Cavour.
Abbazia di Pomposa
This magnificent Abbey is situated on the Romea street 309, only 20 Km from Lido di Spina between Mesola and Codigoro.
This Benectine Monastery was formed around VII century and reached its peak in the XI and XII century.
Anyone who loves the ancient art should not miss the opportunity to admire one of the most precious affrescoes of the province, based on the style of Giotto; The abbey also contains other beauties, such as the architecture of the church and bell tower with tiles, friezes, carvings, mosaic floors and artifacts housed in the Museum Pomposa.
Castello Estense of Mesola and surroundings
Overlooking a bend of the river Po, the Castle of Mesola recalls the presence of the Este family, it was built in 1578 by the Duke Alfonso II only a few kilometers from the Great Wood of Mesola.
Inside is the modern Deer Museum, dedicated to this animal native to the Wood of Mesola. Destination for sports tourism and nature lover, the area of Mesola offers ideas for excursions by bike or by feet.
Goro and Gorino and their ports
Goro is located near the Po di Goro and it is characterized by a thriving fishing. One of the most characteristic is the wholesale fish market, one of the most popular in northern Italy. Assist in the collection of tasty clams is an excuse for an excursion by boat in the reality of these places, combining the passion for nature to that for the local cuisine.
In just over an hour's drive you can reach Venice. With its fine palaces, architecture municipal, religious symbols, Venice always causes wonder and admiration. The city is crossed by dozens of canals crowded with boats and gondolas. Piazza San Marco and the Grand Canal are still the silent custodians of this priceless treasure on the water, symbols of perfect harmony between man, nature and sheer magnificence