Visit the oasis of Valli di Argenta, Comacchio, Campotto and Valle Santa

Near Argenta, about 20 minutes away from Lugo, we have the Oasis of the Argenta and Marmorta valleys, of whose 1600 hectares of surface area the expansion boxes of the Bassarone di Campotto and Santa valley are part. These latter two have been declared ‘internationally important wetlands’ by the Ramsar Convention, due to the great variety of flora, fish and birds present here. Reclamation has saved them, keeping them as expansion boxes to cope with any flooding of the many rivers in the area. The internal areas of the valleys can only be visited with a guide. In Campotto, There is also the museum of history of reclamation and the valley products, housed in a little country house dating back to the 1700s.

Proceeding on towards Argenta, 20 km from Lugo, we come across Pieve di S. Giorgio, one of the most ancient constructions of the whole of the Ferrara territory, and the only to date back to the primitive settlings founded by the archbishop of Ravenna in 569. Here, well worth a visit, we would point out the Celletta sanctuary (1606), with an elliptical plane. Each year, 19th March sees the anniversary of the 1624 earthquake, that saved the church, thereby also saving many lives. Just a little over 10 km from Argenta, we reach the Agosta bank, a beautiful ‘balcony’ over the Comacchio valleys, and the apotheosis of the typical valley landscape.

The Comacchio valleys represent the apotheosis of the typical valley landscape: 10 thousand hectares, in addition to surrounding areas for a total of 16 thousand hectares, saved from the reclamation works of the fascist period. The bank was the old Roman road that connected Ravenna to Adria, and from here you can enjoy an enchanting natural spectacle: endless mirrors of water marked by the characteristic batane boats, typical species of fish and vegetables, and colonies of birds, all protected and fully respected. The area is very important not only in terms of the natural balances, but also for the archaeological findings revealed here: Spina, once a marine town at the mouth of a branch of the Po, today stands at about 12 km from the sea. Here, evidence has been found of a flourishing 6th-8th century Greek-Etruscan city, with a necropolis of 4000 tombs.

At around 45 km from Lugo, Comacchio is another place well worth visiting. It is commonly known as ‘the Po’s Venice’, and Ariosto wrote “that amidst the fishy swamps, both mouths fear the Po". Its origins date back to the 1st-2nd century A.D. when the little islands on the Po delta were first colonised. Today’s town is still faithful to that of several centuries ago, almost immerging in a reality linked to times past: canals, bridges and little footbridges, brightly coloured houses, boats and fishermen. The old S. Camillo hospital (1778) is interesting, as are the Sbirri bridge (1631), so named (meaning 'Coppers' Bridge'), due to its vicinity to the ex prisons, and the very famous Trepponti, once the main river way into the town, also providing defence. Then we have the sixteenth century bishops’ palace, the home of the town governors, the clock tower originally built in 1330 and then reconstructed in 1824, the Merchants’ or Corn Lodge (1621), the cathedral of S. Cassiano (708) and the sanctuary of S. Maria in Aula Regia, with the Cappuccini monks’ lodgings (1647).

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