Many of the most important natural areas in Ravenna are part of the Po Delta Park.
Tens of kilometers of coastline and hinterland, pine forests and sand dunes alternating with active river mouths and fossil meanders, floodplains, fishing valleys, lagoons and shallows.
A very large area, chosen by various species of birds as a place to breed, rest and winter. The perfect scenery for birdwatching.
From north to south, here is a list of the most charming places for the observation of rare and fascinating species.
Southern Lagoons of Comacchio
The visit to the southern part of the Lagoons starts from Sant’Alberto, a small town north of Ravenna.
Here, thanks to a small ferry boat, it is possible to cross the Reno river – once Po of Primaro – and reach the southern border of the lagoons, near the Peninsula of Boscoforte.
You can continue your itinerary eastwards on foot or by bike and visit Valle Furlana in its entirety (Valle Lavadena, La Scorticata, Valle Scirocca, La Pastorina) up until Volta Scirocco and the Romea state road.
You can also visit Valle Lavadena onboard “Tarabusino”, a small electric bus starting from the NatuRa Museum – the visitor centre in Sant’Alberto – and running along the southern border of the Lagoons of Comacchio
Valle Mandriole (or Valle della Canna)
To access the area turn right towards Ravenna-Venezia, just north of the Lamone river.
Here, a high tower allows you to observe the birds without disturbing them and to make your eyes wander not only on the large swamp, but also on the other surrounding natural areas, from Bardello to Punte Alberete up to the Pine Forest of San Vitale.
Because of the wide open spaces that the area features and the troubles that this would cause to the fauna, it is not possible to go along the perimeter of the swamp.
The only other accessible point – thanks to another observation tower – is Ca’ del Chiavichino, reachable by turning left before the bridge on Scolo Schiavone on the Romea state road towards Ravenna/Venezia, or from Tenuta Augusta, thanks to a small wooden bridge on the Rivalone canal.
Oasis of Bardello
Included in the section “Pine forest of San Vitale and Pialasse di Ravenna” of the Po Delta Regional Park, this small natural site boasts 17 different habitats of Community importance.
It is the only lawn submerged in freshwater in the area, and the system of dunes has created a series of hollows characterised by a rich hygrophilous vegetation.
Also observable from the observation tower of Valle Mandriole, this lowland is reachable from the dirt carriage road along the left bank of the Lamone river, starting from the bottom of the bridge on the Lamone river on the Romea state road, by turning right just north of it towards Ravenna/Venezia.
The Oasis of Punte Alberete
This natural site is well organised for both guided and free visits.
The access point is located just north of the bridge on the Fossatone canal, but in the future it will be re-located south of the same canal.
From here starts a loop pedestrian path of almost 2 kilometres, allowing you to observe the various and different spaces of the area, from the primigenial flooded forest to the flooded hollows with hygrophilous rushes and shrubs, to carexes.
The northern part of the route also features a covered walkway and a hut for the observation of birds, allowing extraodinary close encounters with very rare species impossible to see anywhere else.
At the end of the path, it is possible to proceed towards the observation tower of Valle Mandriole, slightly to the north.
We recommend you take some mosquito repellent with you, especially at sunset.
Pialassa della Baiona
Left of the farmyard of the hut in the pine forest starts a path leading to the most western banks of the lagoon, near the so-called Chiaro del Comune, one of the basins of freshened water with the highest density of birds all year round.
An observation tower located in Marina Romea, in the area of Bassa della Vigna, allows you to observe the eastern part of the Baiona. You can reach it by parking near Piazza degli Spinaroni or at the end of Viale dei Pioppi.
Along the northern border or Pialassa della Baiona is Prato Barenicolo, reachable on foot from the path overlooking the lagoon (park your car in Via degli Aironi or at the end of Viale delle Palme) or from the parking in Via delle Valli.
It is a much interesting area thanks to its halophile vegetation (closely connected to the high salinity of the sea water) and the species that populate it to feed themselves by taking advantage of the tidal movement that regularly submerges the vegetation bringing new food.
The area is particularly fascinating in summer, during the violet blooming of Limonium. Warning: Limonium is a protected species, and it is forbidden to pick its flowers.
Pine forest of San Vitale
You enter the pine forest from the Romea state road along via Fossatone, and leave the car at the parking of Ca’ Vecia.
From here, take the left path and go through the pine forest, where you will have the possibility to see and listen to a large number of species. The path ends by the wetland, but you can go on along the banks of the canals running through the pialassa, among the salt marshes near the forest (where water is fresher) and the lagoon connected to the sea, where water is saltier.
On the humps emerging from water and in the areas of freshwater you can observe various permanent colonies.
Mouth of the Bevano river and Ortazzino
The beach, natural and wild like few others on the coastline of the Adriatic Sea, is reachable from north from the parking in Lido di Dante near the pine forest, or from south from Lido di Classe.
For the protection of some bird species that come here to nest, you cannot get to the Mouth of the Bevano river from the beach – but you can observe the wonderful landscape of the Ortazzino from a distance, by going on a watchtower located in via della Sacca, along the banks of the Fosso Ghiaia canal.
The mouth is reachable on foot or by bike by following via Fosso Ghiaia from Parco 1° Maggio. The access to the area is limited and may vary according to the season (check the opening times by contacting Reparto Carabinieri Biodiversità di Punta Marina: +39 0544 437379)
Oasis of Ortazzo
It is possible to have a view of the Ortazzo from the path along the southern bank, connecting the access road to the Ortazzo (not walkable) to the Pine forest of Classe.
From here you can reach, along the banks of the Ortazzo and through the pine forest, a hut and a tower for birdwatching overlooking the lowland of Scirocco, an area with fresher water and sparse rushes. You can get to the area by driving along via Bevanella, cross street departing from the bridge on the Bevano river on the Adriatica state road.
You can also observe the wetland from the panoramic watchtower in via della Sacca, cross street of the Adriatica state road, which goes along the northern border of the Pine forest of Classe and reaches the sea near the Mouth of the Bevano river.