The MOUTH OF THE BEVANO RIVER is a gem nestled among the Pine forest of Classe, the Ortazzo and Ortazzino oases and the coastal pine forests.
It is one of the natural areas located south of Ravenna, and is one of the many treasures of the Po Delta Park.
This meandering estuary – the last one of the Northern Adriatic Sea – has almost completely preserved its original shape, as it has been spared from some projects of anthropisation of the area that were later abandoned.
Today, it is carefully protected because it is a much delicated system of inestimable conservation value, both from the geomorphological and biological point of view.
In the last 4 kilometres of its course, the Bevano river – after briefly meandering in its little basin between the Ronco and the Savio rivers – is enriched with the waters of four gutters, shaping its wide estuary.
A mosaic of woods, untouched sand dunes, marshes, brackish ponds and wetlands populated by organisms of scientific interest.
WHAT TO DO
The area can be visited only in specific times of the year and in specific points, either freely or accompanied by specialised guides that will tell you more about its evolution.
You can also discover the many tours (on foot, by bike or by boat) organised by the Cubo Magico Bevanella Visitor Centre – located inside what once was the guardhouse of the nearby water-scooping system (reachable from Lido di Classe) – or the many activities offered by Pro Loco Lido di Dante with the support of the Municipality of Ravenna.
The Visitor centre also houses a small interactive museum, which shows the geological evolution of the area and the functioning of the water-supply systems of the territory.
WHAT TO SEE
The area of the mouth of the Bevano river is home to unique naturalistic treasures, which are subject to strict protection rules. It is thus necessary to pay attention to access limitations in force throughout the year.
The Ortazzo and Ortazzino wetlands are truly unmissable.
Ortazzo is a wide salt marsh constantly submerged by the waters of the Bevano and Fosso Ghiaia rivers. It was originally a freshwater valley originated from the conversion of former rice fields.
Today, it is subject to the influence of brackish groundwater, as evidenced by the presence of common rush and salt sandspurry. It is characterised by a remarkable alternation of ponds, reed beds, dunes, Mediterranean vegetation and pine forests.
Ortazzino develops to the south of the Bevano river. It consists of fossilised twists of the river, coastal dunes and a vegetation that mixes Mediterranean scrub and shrublands typical of the continental climate. It also includes the fossil meanders of the Bevano river and part of its dunes, with wet brackish meadows and dry meadows dotted with juniper, green olive tree and sea buckthorn.
The largest area also includes the mouth of the Fiumi Uniti river and the Pine forest of Classe, and is part of Rete Natura 2000 for its unique ability to attract many species of reptiles, birds (with a maximum commitment for the protection of Kentish plovers, see focus), mammals (as wolves and polecats) and for the presence of habitats, which are primary for the European conservation policies.
Here, you can also admire a multitude of flamingos, various species of herons and other charadriiform birds that come here to nest, as black-winged stilts, pied avocets, gull-billed terns and Mediterranean gulls.
The area is a big draw for birdwatchers, and more extensively for bio-watchers, even though it may not be accessible during the nesting periods.
The walk along the coastal dune belt that unfolds into the brackish water is a very suggestive experience. You can stop here and watch the birdlife from the watchtowers, enjoying the breathtaking view of all the surrounding landscape.