This tour takes you to discover the great river and everyday life in the Reggio Emilia Lower Plain, with its stories and characters, between the towns of Boretto and Luzzara.
A unique territory, with an environmental and landscape wealth that few urban centres have.
A landscape that offers naturalistic views, cycle paths and true gastronomic experiences: are you ready to discover these places of the Reggio Emilia area?
Before starting please download the App Terre di Po in bici (Po Lands by bicycle): you will find the detailed route and the map that may also be referred offline! For bicycle rent services you can ask to the local Tourist Office.
Close to the main embankment of the Po river is the town centre of Boretto, the “most fluvial town” of the Reggio Emilia territory.
Here stands the imposing Basilica of San Marco Evangelista, symbol of the role that Boretto had for the Venetians, who used it as both a resting place on the Po river and for their conquests and trade. In memory of this famous past, you can admire the pillar with the San Marco Lion, an unmistakable gift from the lagoon city.
Moving slowly along the embankment, it is possible to know the ancient local tradition linked to the fluvial shipbuilding by visiting the three museums of Boretto:
If you want to discover the places of Giovannino Guareschi's characters, get on your bicycle and take the cycle path that runs along the Po to Brescello.
Walking through the town of Don Camillo and Peppone it is possible to see the church of Don Camillo, the "talking" crucifix, the Sputnik bell, Peppone's house and deepen its history with the two town museums “Peppone and Don Camillo Museum” and “Brescello and Guareschi, territory and cinema Museum”.
The visit is completed by the Roman Archaeological Museum, which houses a valuable and significant archaeological collection with artifacts found in the area of the ancient Roman town of Brixellum.
Along the great River, after about forty minutes you arrive in Gualtieri, typical example of small Renaissance river capital. The town owes its luck to the Bentivoglio family, who carried out the construction of the palace and the reclamation of the surrounding marshy land between the late XVI century and the mid XVII century.
North of the town starts the cycle path running alongside the Gualtieri floodplain; walking along it to the place where was once the old port - near the “oxbow lake" - you can enter a strip of land wet by the Po river running along the whole Gualtieri embankment: one of the most characteristic invisible spaces of the Reggio Emilia Lower Plain.
Now a silent naturalistic oasis, the Island of Internees bears this name because in 1945 it was given to a farming cooperative of former prisoners of the Second World War, so that they could have an income from the timber exploitation. Not to be missed, in the area between the Island of Internees and the Old Port, is the presence of small huts on stilts. Some stand out at a height of five or more metres, others float on concrete barges, others are old caravans raised on poles: all represent a spontaneous building heritage that few people know.
Walking on the island, during the low periods of the river, you can see three shipwrecks that were bombed and sunk during a violent firefight in the Second World War. In these landscapes, among the poplars and the mists of the floodplain, the painter and sculptor Antonio Ligabue lived for a long time: here he often took refuge when he entered his deep and tormenting crises, and felt rejected by the community. To deepen the discovery of the artist, an unmissable collection of Ligabue's works may be found inside Palazzo Bentivoglio and in the house where the painter lived for some time, in via Giardino.
Back on the bank of the Po river, follow the cycle path to Guastalla, where the wide Guastalla floodplain extends. The most evocative glimpses are the Crostolina axis, from the Crostolo river to the territory of Luzzara, the Sin Island and the Flooded Willows, area of environmental redevelopment subject to interventions aimed at recovering its primitive natural state (download the map of the floodplain routes).
Going along Via Lido Po it is easy to arrive in the town and visit the wonderful Ducal Palace that maintains valuable traces of the Gonzaga past; following this route you can get to know the main town monuments.
We end our tour with the last town of the Reggio Emilia province, on the right of the Po river. Luzzara is famous for being the homeland of Cesare Zavattini: screenwriter, journalist, writer and poet, an Italian painter known worldwide for his tireless activity aimed at cinema. In the centre of the town is the Civic Tower, 55 metres high, and the beautiful San Giorgio Church with the Romanesque apse and the Palazzetto known as "La Macina" (“The Millstone”).
Near the town, in Villarotta, is also the Wood chip Museum, thanks to the renovation of a XV-century sewer located on the Cavo Tagliata. It is the only example in Northern Italy of woodworking to obtain chips, and from these the braid that, sewn together, gives shape to the straw hats that have been the main activity of the hamlet for centuries.
Luzzara is also famous for the network of reclamations and valleys, for the Po river and the floodplain. Finally, here is the River Park adventure park suitable for everyone: 5 courses for children and adults with increasing difficulties, two baby courses and a medium-high difficulty Junior course.