Cycling along the Ciclovia Destra Po – the longest cycle toute in Italy – you will meet a castle called Rocca della Stellata that marks the entrance to the land of the ancient Duchy of Este, with its beautiful capital city, Ferrara. You cannot avoid visiting it, because the history if this city, founded on an old branch of the River Po, is indissolubly linked to the Great River.
From Ferrara, the river turns eastwards and flows “suspended” a few metres above the landline, supported by the embankments. The belltowers of village churches emerge from the morning fog that envelops the fields. You can easily recognise the tall, leaning belltower of Ficarolo, where the river is finally ready to distribute its waters in the hundreds branches of its delta. Here you are in a place where the boundary between land and water is blurred. The wide cultivated fields beyond the embankments are the youngest lands of the country. The Great River, with its huge water flow – over 1500m³/sec. near the river mouth, incessantly deposits sand and silt in the shallow waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Tall water pumps rise from the flat landscape of the area. They prevent sea and brackish water from flooding the fields. Many land recalmation plants of the 20th century have been turned into museums . You should visit a few during your journey in order to understand the complicated processes that shaped this land.
You can take one of the many small and large boats that sail on the network of waterways. You can watch a movable bridge opening to let the boat sail by, and you will see the coloured fishing huts with their lift nets dangling on the water surface. You will learn new words, you will walk on sandbanks on the water-land boundary, you will find out that the delta wetlands are not surrrounded by mountains, but only by thin banks and reed beds and complicated fishing systems. You will see the ruin of an old fisherman's house emerging from the waters of the inlet called Sacca degli Scardovari, and you will not be able to tell where is the boundary between the river and the open sea.
You should also explore the hinterland, stopping in the cities like Rovigo and Adria, surrounded by a thick network of canals and waterways where beautiful Venetians houses are reflected. Continue towards the sea, where the delta merges with the wide lagoons to the north and south at its tip in the Adriatic Sea. called Bocche di Po della Pila. Then go down to Comacchio and its wetlands,populated by flamingos. Stop in its historic centre and walk on its many bridges. Continue northwards and stop on the bridges to look at other rivers thath follow the Po to the Adriatic Sea , Adige and Brenta. Stop in Chioggia to see the Venice Lagoon stretching in the open sea. The Great River ends its long journey disappearing in the clear light of the lagoons, amidst the fogs and the blurred horizons of the Adraitic Sea.