Origins

The Po Delta is a very young territory, which was formed thanks to the deposit of debris that the Po River carried along its course to its mouth. We are accustomed to consider these areas as devoid of history; on the contrary, intense trade with the whole of Europe was carried out through the ancient Delta and, as archaeological research continues, unsuspected presences come to light that offer a more correct and true image of this "land emerging from the waters" (this is the meaning of the word Polesine), debunking the common opinion of a flooded, swampy and poor land. Even today, the most tragic aspects are often highlighted, such as the nightmare of the routes, the fear of the rivers, which have always been considered here almost as gods, from which we must constantly defend ourselves, but which are at the same time benign gods, because the rivers have been and are the source of our existence. The whole area east of Adria is the product of a series of situations linked to both natural evolutionary processes and human intervention. In the last 4000 years, the Po has changed its course several times, especially in the final part, and has progressively moved its outlet into the sea to the east, continuously changing the conformation of the Delta.

The current conformation of the Delta is the result of an undertaking commissioned by the Venetian institutions, which, at the end of the 16th century decided to deviate the final stretch of the Po delle Fornaci towards the south-east, because the turbidity of the river, which was dispersing into the sea to the north, was endangering the Venice lagoon. The choice was actually also linked to economic and commercial reasons; in fact, only after a long negotiation between the Serenissima and the Papal State, on 5th May 1600 the works for the cutting of Porto Viro were contracted out, which determined the exclusion of the Renaissance Delta from the hydraulic network and caused its decline: the Sacca di Goro filled up in a short time and the territory of Porto Tolle was rapidly formed. After the cut, new lands, mostly consisting of marshes and swamps, took the place of the sea. The first owners of the emerging territories were the Venetian nobles, who initially used them only for fishing and hunting, and later, after reclaiming them, turned them into vast agricultural estates.

The Po is the fundamental element around which the moments of the population's life are woven, whose daily life is perceived more than anything else, while the great events remain far away. The river represents the place of memory and, most probably, of nostalgia.

For further information, the volumes "IL DELTA DEL PO TRA BRADISISMO E ALLUVIONI 1945-1966" and "PORTO TOLLE Le ragioni di una scelta 1968-2008" by Claudio Mancin are available at the Porto Tolle Municipal Library.