Herons, white, black and even red ones, together with marsh harriers, funny squirrels, owls and the exotic pink flamingoes. Beautiful Italian deer.
Whatever your animal preference, a visit to the “Park of the Delta of the river Po” will inspire and excite you.

Herons, marsh harriers, kingfishers and …shells from the Philippines

Let Captain Dario, navigate his boat through the waves and tides of the lagoon of the Po river and up to where the sweet river waters meet the salty Adriatic sea waters. It is right there that the line snakes, where the two waters fall one into one another due to the different water density.
Dario will show you the sea fields where shells grow: the lagoon known as “Sacca di Goro” produces up to 50-70% of Italian shell production but the shells are not Italian; they actually originate from the Philippines. Imported some 40 years ago they soon adapted well to local conditions.
Leaving these fields behind, the boat will then head on to the cane fields. Having a professional, naturalist guide onboard is invaluable: Stefano, our guide, could spot the small kingfisher hovering in the air, the elegant circles high above of the silent marsh harrier hunting its prow and the dives of the great crested grebe.

Italy Green Travel suggestion: choose the eco hotel Cannevié, an old fishing house of eighteenth century surrounded by water, greenery and reeds, where you can discover the park of Po river, cycling and boating. Do not miss the excellent local restaurant, where you can taste the fish specialties, but also vegetarians and vegans recipes.

Pink flamingoes in the Po river Natural Park
Pink flamingoes, ph. by Corrado Mostacchi, via flickr

The lazy pink flamingoes

Once only a seasonal presence, the pink flamingoes have come to love living permanently in the salt waters of the Comacchio valley.
The population has reached 10,000 exemplars over the last 20 years.
Have the pink flamingoes become lazy? Are they shunning the centuries-long natural call for warmer places over the northern coast of Africa? Stefano, our guide, thinks that the effect that climate change has had, making the winter less harsh here, is the reason why we are allowed to admire this incredible pink cloud today, bobbing gently close by.
Italy Green Travel suggestion: turn into a morning lark and reach the Stazione Foce, the old fishing centre, now turned into a restaurant. If you can make it by 5 am, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking show: a pink flock will land just a few meters from you and start their busy day hunting insects and roots in the salt pools.

The real Italian deer? You can only find them at Bosco della Mesola.

What happens when a group remains isolated from the exemplars of the same species?
Look at what happened with koalas and kangaroos in Australia.
And the Galapagos and the Darwin adventure.
The flooding of part of the wood isolated the deer living there from the surrounding areas and from the European deer which was purposefully reintroduced in Italy due to the risk of extinction.
This makes the deer of the Bosco della Mesola different from its Italian relatives.
The Bosco della Mesola is now a protected reserve where deer live freely and have become somewhat used to humans being around, although there are a few precautions to adhere to: the visit is on request only, at a scheduled time and on an electric bus driven by a naturalistic guide who’s certified to access the area.
The number of deer has increased over the last few years and observing shy female deer followed by their little ones in tow is no longer a rare sight to behold.
Italy Green Travel suggestion: check with the naturalistic guides for the “love fight night visits”. During the “love season”, the deer challenge one another in romantic and fierce battles, with the defeated one usually leaving.

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Cycling along the forgotten railways, from Treviso to the Po river

Ravenna: culture, gorillas and piadinas

The cowboy way… along the river Po

Author: Cristiana Pedrali

"Loving your job is the closest you can get to happiness on earth” (Rita Levi Montalcini) and “when real people fall down in real life they get back on their feet and carry on walking” (Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City): these are my two mantras. I’m a bit like this: I go through being serious to playful to help me manage a thousand different interests and commitments, keeping a smile through it all. I work in the tourism industry and on the web and every so often I look for some breathing space through reading and travel!
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