Cycling around Comacchio's brackish lagoons in search of unforgettable natural scenery: although this itinerary only lasts one day, it promises to leave you with memories to last a lifetime!
The route will take you from the Sacca di Goro lagoon and the thousand-year-old Pomposa Abbey to Ferrara’s beaches, through oases and nature reserves, to bring you to the small town of Comacchio with its famous Trepponti bridge structure.
The itinerary starts at Sacca di Goro, one of the largest brackish lagoons on the North Adriatic coastline, where you can observe the distinctive ecological features of this ecosystem made up of important communities of flora and fauna which coexist in a delicate balance.
But there’s more to see: take a break, hop off your saddle and explore the waters of the Po Delta by motorboat.
Once back on your bike, your next stop will be the Bosco della Mesola nature reserve.
These woods are what remain of a once vast thermophilic forest, one of the last and best- preserved remnants of valley woodland, which grows on land that is periodically flooded and covered in a fine sediment.
These woods are a reminder of the age-old forests that once grew along the Adriatic coast a few centuries ago.
Deer and fallow deer may sometimes be sighted in these woods.
Your next destination is Pomposa Abbey: dating back to the ninth century, this monastery holds a key place in the history of the arts in Medieval times in the Po Valley. Originally surrounded by the waters of the Po river and the sea, today this abbey is a treasure trove of frescoes by the Giotto school and mosaic flooring.
It was also within the walls of this monastery that Benedictine monk Guido d’Arezzo invented modern-day music notation and gave each note a name, making this the birthplace of music as we know it today.
Continuing along the road to Comacchio, another must-see site is the Oasi di Canneviè lagoon, a real paradise for nature-lovers and birdwatchers alike, affording an array of vantage points from where you can watch and admire the indigenous bird species.
Next is the Mouth of the Po di Volano: at this point in the itinerary, a cycle path ventures out along the Scannone di Volano, a strip of land measuring a couple of kilometres’ long and covered in maritime pines and shrub-like holm oaks, which offers a unique panorama over the coastline.
It’s not time to let tiredness creep in just yet because you're closing in on your final destination, but this doesn't mean you can't take a well-deserved pit stop on the Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori di Ferrara, Ferrara's food and wine route, to sample one of the dishes that has been made a part of Italy's culinary heritage.
As you allow your gaze to follow the alternating landscape of cultivated land, paddy fields, waterways, salt marshes and buildings dating back to the Este Court era, you’ll undoubtedly chance upon wineries and farms, as well as osterie, restaurants and little shops selling food and wine specialities from the area, made using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients.
Pumpkin-filled Cappellacci di Zucca pasta, Pasticcio Ferrarese [Ferrara's macaroni pie] and hundreds of dishes made with eel are just some of the local specialities you can try: top up those energy levels because you’ll soon be back on your bike!
This off road cycle itinerary is about to come to an end: Comacchio and all its wonders are on the horizon! Read on for recommendations to experience the atmosphere of this town that is described as “little Venice”:
- a visit to the Manifattura dei Marinati [the marinating plant], a cultural, food and wine attraction and also the visitor centre for the Po Delta Park. You can see first-hand every step that goes into marinating anchovies, sand smelt and eels, a symbol of Comacchio's culinary tradition.
- a walk to the iconic Ponte Trepponti bridge structure, whose imposing stairways have made it into one of the town's most important icons.
- a visit to the Salina di Comacchio salt pan, a particularly vulnerable and protected area of the Po Delta Park. With salt production having ceased here 30 years ago, the area has since become a thriving ecosystem inhabited by a variety of bird species, including nesting birds and rare species.
Get your legs and cameras ready: the Goro-Comacchio itinerary awaits you!