Mesola is a municipality in the Po Delta, south of the river branch called the Po di Goro, which represents both the municipal and regional border between Veneto and Emilia-Romagna.
Among the many hypotheses linked to the etymology of the name "Mesola", the most accredited one appeals to the Latin origin "media insula", an explicit reference to the conformation of the ancient settlement. The village of Mesola first came to life thanks to the land reclamation undertaken in the 16th century by the Este family. The area of the estate, covered by the sea until the 10th century, was bought by the House of Este at the end of the 15th century to build one of their country residences, called the Delizie.
In fact, the village was developed around the elegant and majestic mass of the Estense Castle, commissioned by Alfonso II at the end of the 16th century, on the edge of what was once the vast hunting estate, now a nature reserve of the Great Mesola Wood where the Dune Deer lives protected. Mesola is now a reference point to explore the nature of the Po Delta Park.
Mesola Castle, one of the Delizie Estensi, commissioned by the last Duke of Ferrara Alfonso II d'Este, was built between 1578 and 1583 as a "place of delights" for his wife Margherita Gonzaga on a project designed by Giovan Battista Aleotti and built by the architect Antonio Pasi. Today, the manor has a unique quadrilateral floor plan, bordered at the corners by pentagonal crenellated towers, surrounded by those that were once the service buildings for the court staff, the stables and the warehouses. From the castle, walls more than 12 km long once stretched around the Mesola Estate, including a wood in which the Este family enjoyed hunting. The Castle is home to the Mesola Woods and Deer Ecomuseum, which illustrates, through cartographic documents, the evolution of the Mesola territory and its most salient features.
This is the Great Mesola Wood Nature Reserve which, with a surface area of 1,058 hectares, represents one of the last and best-preserved remaining lowland forests, a reminder of the ancient forests that were found until a few centuries ago along the Adriatic coast. Today it is the largest woodland area in Ferrara, which can be accessed either on foot or by bicycle. Authorised trails allow sightings of deer and fallow deer.
In Mesola, in April, the Asparagus Festival takes place with many local products presented in the market held in the Estense Castle. At the end of October “The Autumn Flavours” is dedicated to truffles, mushrooms and delicious food from the underwood. In the village of Bosco Mesola, at the end of September, radicchio is the main star of the traditional festival of Bosco Mesola.
The Destra Po cycling route passes through Mesola. It's an extraordinary itinerary that accompanies the Po river in the last kilometers of its meander towards the sea.