Comacchio is sometimes called ‘little Venice’ because of its many canals, its bridges and small islands.

Water, sky and earth come together here in the Po Delta and along the canals of old Comacchio in the Emilia-Romagna region. Once upon a time there must have been a lot of activity on and along Canale Maggiore, the main canal. Comacchio lies a bit off the so called beaten tourist tracks in Italy.

It is decidedly a quiet town. Yet, the historic centre is vibrant and alive in its own subtle ways. Stroll on the wide embankments and take in the views from a bridge, on the Trepponti, or on a corner at the next bend of the canals. Comacchio is as the Italians say, “suggestiva”. It has a quiet appeal vaguely evocative of some scenes in a film, perhaps an Italian film that you saw years and years ago, but you can’t seem to remember which one…

On Canale Maggiore
On Canale Maggiore

Comacchio is sometimes called ‘little Venice’ because of its many canals, its bridges and 13 small islets. Although smaller, Comacchio does in fact resemble the town of Chioggia on the edge of the Venetian Lagoon, just north of the Po Delta. Burano and Murano near Venice also come to mind.

A “barcaiolo” boatman getting.Trepponti Bridge in the background
A “barcaiolo” boatman getting his boat ready.Trepponti Bridge in the background

 

Via Muratori
Via Muratori

 

Ferrara and the Po Delta World Heritage area

Comacchio is situated in the province of Ferrara in the Po Delta, within the World Heritage Site area officially named “Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta“. The nearest cities are Ferrara and Bologna further inland, Venice and Ravenna on the coast.

Po Delta between Comacchio and Porto Garibaldi
Po Delta between Comacchio and Porto Garibaldi

From the 14th to the 16th centuries, the ruling Este family carried out extensive land reclamation and building projects, which give this area a distinctive character link with Ferrara, seat of the Este family. Transformations made to the countryside surrounding Ferrara during the Renaissance included: drainage of huge swathes of swampland, establishment of castalderie (estates), creation of new waterways and streets as part of the overall urban development plan and construction of a network of noble residences known as the delizie estensi. This work led to a new fabric of agricultural production and the construction of Ducal residences as the political sign of magnificence. These were designed to mirror the image of the Court beyond the urban confines and again formed part of a process of integration and continuity between the city and the surrounding countryside. The original form of the Renaissance landscape of the Po River Delta is still recognisable in the region’s 21st-century layout. (Source: UNESCO)

 

Comacchio in the morning
Comacchio in the morning

SOURCES & CREDITS
All photos © Asgeir Pedersen, Heredajo
UNESCO (CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0)