Through the Po Delta Park
From Mesola to the Mouth of the Po di Volano: 41 km.
The route starts from Mesola, a town that grew around the Este Castle, built in its actual look by Alfonso II at the end of the sixteenth century. The big building stood at the edge of the vast forest, at that time a shooting lodge.
For a long time it was believed that the castle had only leisure functions, but recent studies suggest that the Duke wanted to make it the focus of the construction of a new city and a port.
The project, opposed by Venice, was interrupted by the end of Este power in 1598. The castle is now home to the Centre for Environmental Education.
From Mesola take the road towards Santa Giustina, where you meet an interesting wooded area.
Then follow the indications to Torre Abate (Tower of the Abbot), a great construction related to the reclamation of the Duke Alfonso II d'Este which had the dual function of hydraulic construction and defensive tower.
Going further, you reach the village of Bosco Mesola and the entrance of the Gran Bosco (Great Wood), a 1061 hectares forest, which is the latest example of the woods that covered the whole the coastal area of the Dukedom of Ferrara until the late Renaissance.
It was purchased in 1490 by Ercole I d'Este and then transformed into a grand shooting lodge and therefore protected and repopulated with fauna which at that time was already extinct in these areas. Among the most interesting species, the deer is perhaps indigenous, while the fallow deer was probably reintroduced by the Este family.
From Bosco Mesola, if you go through secondary roads parallel to the national street Romea, you reach the amazing Pomposa Abbey, the ancient seat of a group of monks that formed around the seventh century and reached its peak in the 11th and 12th centuries.
From the original Abbey they have saved some buildings such as the Palazzo della Ragione, the beautiful bell tower and especially the church, which constitute one of the most important monuments of Italian and European Romanesque.
Inside the temple precious frescoes by various authors are preserved, including Vitale da Bologna ones. Also the floor is precious, divided into three zones of different eras. Important frescoes are also preserved in the Chapterhouse and Refectory.
A short stretch of road that starts behind the Abbey arrives in Volano, along the Bertuzzi Lagoon on the right and on the left the reclaimed land of Valle Giralda and Canneviè and Porticino Lagoon Oasis.
Then you reach Volano centre, where there is a large coastal pine forest. Hence, starting from the sluice of the Po di Volano, it is possible to take a hike along the Scannone (a narrow strip of land located the mouth of the river) and the foothills of the sea, or to the beach of Lido di Volano.
Just before entering Lido di Volano, if you make a detour you will reach Taglio Della Falce, the end of the Great Wood, which offers a great view of the Sacca di Goro.
The scenic road Acciaioli departs from Volano and runs along, to the east, to the great Bertuzzi Valley. Its view is particularly striking in the late afternoon, when the raking light of the sun brings out the colours of water, sand bars and vegetation, creating special reflections of light.
Sightings of large groups of birds, even from the road, are not rare, especially herons and, at certain times of the year, pink flamingos.
On the other side you see the Lake delle Nazioni, a large basin used for water sports, on whose banks there is also an untamed breeding of bulls and Delta horses.
To the south, the road Acciaioli goes into the countryside along the seaside resorts of Lido delle Nazioni, Lido di Pomposa and Lido degli Scacchi, where you can admire the spacious beaches and modern equipment, up to Porto Garibaldi, a country known since 12th century that combines the beach, the picturesque canal harbour and a large number of restaurants specialized in seafood.