By now I should have been used to see things that I could not even imagine to exist, but I assure you that when my friend Alessandra Farabegoli invited me to a boat trip (without saying exactly where!) I was really far from my wildest imagination.
Meeting point at Alessandra’s house, destination Marina di Ravenna: me, her and her lovely son, Guido:) We will go near one of the most important chemical plants in the area, Marcegaglia, to meet a friend of her who is a naturalist and works for the Delta del Po’ Park. I wonder what are we going to do there!
On the left of the main road I start to see a huge pond, just on the opposite way of the plant. Taking a narrow sandy lane, we arrive to the meeting point where Giacomo is waiting for us.
It’s mid afternoon, the sky is like a cover of steal and we do not know if it will rain and waste our trip. Silence is the first impression for me, also because the engine of the boat is a very silent one and even birds and animals do not care about us, too busy to do their business. The name of this area, Piallassa, come from a dialect form that means take and release. It is the only area without an idraulic system that controls water: everything is done by nature. In the XVII century the lagoon was redesign to avoid the silting and let the Ravenna harbor exist as one of the most important commercial ones of Italy.
Piallassa Baiona was once a very populated area notwithstanding the difficult life conditions: moschitos, marsh fever, poor food and hard transportation ways. This secluded place was the best for bandits and political oppositors, or people who wanted to stay away. Garibaldi stayed here during his escaping from Rome and there is still his home here. In the Second WW, some partisans made this place their head quarter at Capanno Bulow.
Going through ponds and hidden sea arms (I advice you to have a guide or you’ll get lost easy!) we saw a lot of birds. This is a real paradise for birdwatching: oistercatcher, kestrel, sea swallow, hawk, shelduck, heron and flamingos, of course! Surprisingly living one beside the other. The salty water lagoon where flamingos live is separated only by a strip of land from the sweet water lagoon where swans are staying! And this was one of the surprises I learned there!
Hunting here is admitted only for a few people, (luckily!) and only in certain periods of the year, not this one, where birds come to build their families and have their little birds. Every species is perfectly integrated between one another and with the environment, even with men who lived these places for ages. All around they built houses with stray roofs and “capanni”. The “Capanni” are fishing places with suspended nets built on the water with the pilework system. They are a local traditional patrimony and it’s almost impossible to buy one, save you inherit it from your grandfather or father.
Before going back, we tried to reach another part of Piallassa but the water was to high and we were not able to pass under the bridge. And you can understand why by these pictures!
And this is my final image, going back at the end of this afternoon, spent in the middle of an undiscovered place, where nature shows itself in her simple beauty. Something we should always remember!
If you want to contact Giacomo for a trip to explore the Piallassa Baiona, just call the local Proloco of Marina Romea here, www.prolocomarinaromea.it.