|Comacchio is built on one of the most characteristic lagoons in Italy. Spread over 13 small islands within the marshes that, until a century ago, covered an area of approximately 80,000 hectares.
For many years it was isolated from the rest of Italy, and this isolation lead to the establishment of the unique dialect and the unusual gastronomical specialities.
The origins of this area are late Roman, even though the recent discovery of the Roman vessel "Fortuna Maris" at Valli Poni may lead to believe that Comacchio originates from the Etruscan town of Spina.
The population of able fishermen and navigators have through the centuries sustained this lagoon town with their fishing and trade. Comacchio was at its greatest during the XVII century, when Cardinal Giovan Battista Pallotta redesigned the architecture of the town building the monuments that today attract the sightseeing tourist to the town centre.
The starting point is at the "Trepponti" bridge, near to the car park in via Fattibello.
This monumental bridge is the gate to the town; it was commissioned by Cardinal Pallotta in the first half of the XVII century according to the drawings by the architect Luca Danese. The Trepponti is made of five stairways in arches; the central stairway leads down to the small square where every morning, inside the fishmongers, the fish market is held. The fishmongers itself dates back to the XVII century.
Along the banks of the canal there are boats called " Batane" which are the typical vessels used in these waters. It is possible to have a sightseeing tour of the town (free of charge) aboard these boats. Opposite the "Trepponti" there is the "Ponte delle Carceri", translated as the "Jail Bridge" or "delle Sbirri," which date to the first half of the 17th century. Beyond the bridge there are the old prisons (currently council offices) that also date back to the same period. Adjacent to the prisons there is the " Palazzo Bellini" (1866), which has recently undergone restructuring work. It is currently home to the historical archives, the library and also the site of many prestigious exhibitions and exhibits. One of these is the Valle Ponti Roman Vessel.
Opposite the Palazzo Bellini is the building, once home to the San Camillo Hospital, which is soon to become the Po Delta Human Culture Museum. This building was built at the end of the 17th century according to the wishes of Cardinal Francesco Carafa. To the left of this is the Chapel of Saint Peter and the area to the left of the old hospital is called St Peter's quarter. To the right of this along the road, Via E Fogli, you come across the "Palazzo Vescovile", the Bishop's Palace, and the Palazzo delle Saline, the first dates back to the VIII century and the Bishop resided in this palace until 1986.
At the end of Via E.Fogli you come across the Clock Tower and the nearby merchants lodge or grain house built commissioned by Cardinal Serra during the first half of the XVII century as a grain deposit. Continuing left you arrive at the imposing Cathedral of Saint Cassiano, patron saint of the town. The cathedral dates back to the VIII century and was restructured in the XVII century. Next to the cathedral is the Bell Tower which has recently been restructured.
Along Via Mazzini you will come across the Cappucine lodge dating from the XXVII century which is made up of five hundred and forty three arches that terminate at the Aula Regia Sanctuary.
The tour can be terminated with the church of the Madonna of the Rosary in Via Sanbertolo. It is one of the oldest churches dedicated to the Madonna of Carmine and is situated next to the Pizzetti bridge.
You can stop to have something to eat in the Osteria "Fogli Maria Giulia", in the centre of Comacchio, or, time permitting, before your trip through the marshes, at the " Il Bettolino Di Foce" restaurant, which is situated in the middle of the marshes. Unfortunately it is no longer possible to cross bridge so the trip to Bettolino Di Foce is made longer.
Leave Comacchio in the direction of Ostallato, before Ostellato turn left, direction Anita, turn left again towards Comacchio,at the end of the long, straight road turn right, this road leads to Bettolino.
The return journey follows the same road, and then follow Anita along the Agosta dam that itself runs along the marshes. Approaching Anita turn left along the dust road "Rotta Martinella" (sign posted Traghetto), proceed for 5 km as far as the Reno dam that on one side is flanked by the magnificent lagoon landscape and the Bosco Forte Penninsular and on the other side by the Reno River, that you cross on the ferry to arrive at Sant'Alberto. To return to the Lidi follow the SS9 Romea road.