Official Tourist Information Site
of Ravenna

Pine Forest of San Vitale

Via Romea Nord - Ravenna

The PINE FOREST OF SAN VITALE is a place of incredible historical and ecological value, and is part of a wider system of natural and semi-natural areas of the territory north of Ravenna.

The surface of the forest covers more than 1000 hectares and is 1200-1500 metres large, stretching for almost 11 kilometres northwards starting from the industrial/port area of Ravenna.

The natural area runs along the SS309 Romea State Road, touching the Oasis of Punte Alberete and Valle Mandriole (west) and Pialassa Baiona (east).

North of the Lamone river, the area becomes narrower (400-500 metres) and is called “Bedalassona“, ending with an arrowhead shape near the cemetery of Casalborsetti and canale in destra Reno.

The origin of the Pine forest

The current pine forest of San Vitale is actually a forest in an advanced state of evolution. Its origin is owed to a large extent to an artificial plant created around the year 1000 by the monks of San Vitale based on the cultivation of stone pines (Pinus pinea). It allowed a fruitful harvest at a time when the pine forest provided essential resources (timber, grazing land and products of the forest) and guaranteed trade opportunities (timber, pine nuts).

The ancient use of the forest for the grazing of sheep, cattle and horses ensured the abbey a safe income and caused the presence of large areas clear of undergrowth, which simplified the collection of the precious pine nuts.

Since 1873, the Municipality of Ravenna has become the owner of the Pine forest of San Vitale, the Pine forest of Classe and the Pine forest of San Giovanni Evangelista (felled in 1896). The two pine forests of Ravenna have recently become part of the Regional Po Delta Park and of Rete Natura 2000.

As the forest ceased to be a driving force from an economical point of view, it progressively started to return to its original appearance, with the usual characteristics of a plan forest of the Po Valley.

Flora and fauna inside the pine forest 

The Pine forest of San Vitale features a wide floral variety, with noticeable differences from the Pine forest of Classe.

The most present shrubs along the paths of the Pine forest of San Vitale are privets, spindles, blackthorns and common hawthorns, typical of areas with a continental climate.

The pine forest also boasts the widespread presence of barberries, a shrub that is not much common elsewhere.
Areas that are not covered by shrubs, are usually covered by brambles.

Hidden among leafy branches are also areas that get periodically flooded. These areas probably existed also in the past and featured hygrophilous vegetation. These natural elements are able to sustain – by appropriately managing water supplies – a precious and rare biodiversity, which adds to and completes the one present in the nearby wetlands (Oasis of Punte Alberete, Valle Mandriole, Bardello, Pialassa Baiona).

The current management plan of the area aims to preserve the natural elements of the forest, according to the laws on habitats and birds, to coordinate and regulate the various and permitted ways to access the area (trekkings, bike or horseback rides; for hunting of fishing purposes; firewood gathering; picking of mushrooms and other products) in compliance with the rules.

Of the various huts in the pine forest owned by the Municipality of Ravenna, Cà Vecia and Cà Nova are inhabited by forest guards that you can address to report any sort of problem of public order.




The skyline of Pialassa della Baiona, inside the pine forest of San Vitale is dotted with padelloni, the typical local fishing huts. They are also known as “bilancioni” — literally “great scales” — because of the large net that stretches out over the water, rising and falling again into the water to fish.

Initially, they were just rudimentary constructions made of marsh reeds or wooden planks. Today, these huts are the distinctive architectural element of the Po Delta area. They are not only places of intense fishing activity, but also of convivial evenings among friends and long card games.

The so-called fishing hut of Pontaccio has been the theatre of a very important historical event. Here, in August 1849, Garibaldi found shelter during his daring escape northwards, just a few hours after the dramatic passing of his beloved Anita.

Pursued by Austrian soldiers, Garibaldi, was helped by a group of people from Ravenna and was hosted in this very hut, which for this reason has become a historical monument.

Thanks to the work of Società Conservatrice, an association that has been operating since 1879, the hut, later renamed “Capanno Garibaldi”, has been renovated and is now perfectly preserved.

The hut is open to visits and preserves various relics related to Garibaldi.

Further information

Opening times

Winter-spring (from the second Sunday of October to the second Sunday of May): 7.30 am – 5 pm (solar time), 7.30 am – 7 pm (summer time)
Summer (from the second Sunday of May to the second Sunday of October): 7.30 am – 7 pm

For more information on the programme of guided tours, contact the NatuRa Museum – Museum of Natural Sciences “Alfredo Brandolini” of Sant’Alberto (RA)

Entrance fee

Access to the pine forest is free.

How to get there

The Pine Forest of San Vitale is located along the 309 Romea state road, 10 km north of Ravenna. We recommend you leave your car in the big parking area next to the Oasis of Punte Alberete, or in the parking area of Ca’ Vecia reachable by driving along the Fossatone canal.

By bike: the Pine forest of San Vitale can be reached from Ravenna by bike. After riding through the Bassette neighbourhood, take via degli Zingari. If you come from north, take via delle Valli.

By car: the parkings inside the pine forest (Cà Vecchia and Via Cerba) are open only in winter (from the second Sunday of October to the second Sunday of May).

By bus: route 70, starting from Piazza Baracca. Check the timetable:

A cura della Redazione Locale

Ultima modifica: 19 February 2024

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