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The pinewoods of Ravenna

The Pinewoods of Ravenna are a great lowland forest included in the protected areas of Po Delta Park, lying north and south of the artificial canal Candiano that connects the Adriatic Sea to the city of Ravenna.
Apparently, the first pines were planted in this area for economical reasons. At the time of Augustus, it was necessary to create a reserve of firewood for the Roman fleet, stationed in the ports of Ravenna.

The pinewoods were first mentioned in the sources in the 5th century. The references increased starting from the 16th century and especially in the 18th century, when the forest was acquired by the abbeys of San Vitale, San Giovanni, Sant’Apollinare in Classe and Santa Maria in Porto. At the time, the pinewoods reached their maximum extent (about 6.000/7.000 hectares), thus granting an appropriate support to the various religious communities.

This situation remained almost unchanged until the end of the 18th century, when the pinewoods suffered the first losses as a consequence of Napoleon's suppression of religious orders. After the privatization of the possessions of the abbeys, most of the pinewoods were turned into cultivated fields, that divided what had been until then an uninterrupted stretch of forest. Harsh winters, wars and new enlargements of agricultural lands led to a further reduction of its surface, today measuring 2.000 hectares.

The most common tall tree species populating the pinewood is the stone pine, followed by English oaks and maritime pine, as well as the ash and the silver poplar in the lowest zones. The undergrowth is rich in plants, like dog roses, honeysuckle, juniper, holly, wild asparagus, clematis, hawthorn, and many other shrubs that colour the pinewood with white and yellow blooms in springtime and red, orange and brown berries in autumn.

Much of the territory of the pinewoods is now classified as a site of community importance and a special protection area. The most renowned pinewoods are San Vitale Pinewood and Classe Pinewood.

Edited by the editorial team

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Last modified date: 24/04/2018



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