After visiting Venice and its beautiful surroundings, lovers of nature might be interested to take a hike in the Po Delta, one of the most important wetlands in Europe where reigns a priceless heritage of flora and fauna, a paradise for 380 species of birds. This is an interesting day tour from Venice. Take your time as you hike, occasionally stopping in front of fishermen’s huts to watch the flight of gray and red herons, magpies, bee-eaters, black-winged stilts, and even common shelducks that only nest here and in two other places in the world.
The Polesine is a meeting of waters. It is a territory made up of fresh water for irrigation, drainage, dams, streams, flooded rice fields, lagoons and the sea lapping up this land to fade between the waters of the Po. The rice fields of the Polesine are authentic ornithological parks as well as a spectacle of rice growing in the sun and the comings and goings of the water. Almost all families in the area live off this precious cereal.
The humid but mild climate is particularly well suited to agriculture and allows for the collection of much produce. Not surprisingly, many fruits and vegetables come from here such as red chicory, each seed carefully chosen by the farmers, or white garlic, air-dried and turned constantly.
The stretch of land on which are located the inhabitants of Scardovari is entirely occupied by constructions on wooden stilts. This piece of the lagoon is called the “Sacca” (bag or sac) and serves as the breeding ground for mussels and clams, the treasures of the Delta.
If you are considering a day tour from Venice, you can organize many excursions in the Polesine. You can visit by boat, stopping by the old “casoni” (huts) set up to learn the traditional techniques of eel fishing, or advance into the thick reed beds of the sanctuary where you will be provided with binoculars for bird watching.
You can do take alternate routes by bicycle to visit the Manifattura dei Marinati, the valleys and the Salina di Comacchio, all the while crossing through some of the most unique natural environments in the world. You can even experience the thrill of sailing from the tourist port “Marina of the Este” under the watchful eye of an expert instructor, or ride a horse accompanied by a specialized guide on thoroughbred Delta horses.
Photos by ThreeCharlie, Nicola Quirico , Francesca Cesa Bianchi, Johanning from Wikimedia Creative Commons