This 1100-hectare area of wetlands owes its name “Pialassa” to the combination of the words “piglia” (grab) and “lascia” (let go), as a dynamic system of sea water exchange is created within it.
The Pialassa della Baiona is located between the Romea state road and the via Baiona and consists of open water basins, artificial canals and salt marshes.
It can be reached by crossing the Pinewoods of San Vitale and can be covered on foot or by bicycle, as well as skirted by boat, from which unique views of the landscape can be admired. The traditional fishing huts (called “bilancioni” or “padelloni”) that dot the banks and knolls along the stretch of water also contribute to this fascinating view.
The exposed surface – which is submerged at high tide – is covered with halophilous plant communities and brackish meadows, the most striking of which is undoubtedly the so-called Prato Barenicolo, a meadow populated by plants and animals typical of brackish shallow waters.
Along the banks there is vegetation consisting of limonium, inula and septuagenarian plants, as well as grasses and shrubs such as tamarisk, blackthorn, bramble and vitalba. In the open waters, however, there are some species of macroalgae, such as sea lettuce. Because of the quality of the habitat, the Pialassa is an ideal feeding ground for a number of nesting species such as the lesser kittiwake, the glossy ibis, the plumed glossy ibis and for some migratory birds, such as anatidae and charadriiformes.
There are important colonies of Kentish plover, avocet and black-winged stilts, as well as little egrets and gulls. The wealth of flora and fauna makes it a unique and protected environment, which since 1988 has earned it a place in the Parco Regionale del Delta del Po (Po Delta Regional Park).
There are many guided tours by biologists and environmental guides starting from the Museo NatuRa (Alfredo Brandolini Museum of Natural Sciences) in Sant’Alberto.