Rovigo, Chioggia and the Po Delta
History and natural marvels between land and sea
A land where nature becomes art: from the Late Medieval Rhodigium to the “Little Venice” whose historical might rivalled that of the lion of Saint Mark, to the synthesis of the Po Delta: an undiscovered facet of the Veneto
Our tour begins at Rovigo, in the heart of the Polesine.
This elegant city was known as Rhodigium in the Middle Ages, and exercises a particular charm over the visitor: the combination of splendid monuments, the fascination of the surrounding nature, the mists which enshroud the city throughout the year: a captivating place.
Our first leg takes in the castle with its two towers known as Donà and Mozza, dating back to the 10th century.
The former has become one of the city’s symbols.
Strolling along from here we can admire the Venetian architecture of Biagio Rossetti in the form of Palazzo Roverella and the cloister of S. Bartolomeo, and the Palazzo Roncale of Michele Sanmicheli.
Such magnificent edifices have increased the valuing of Rovigo as an artistic centre.
We continue with a visit to the Accademia dei Concordi (1580), home of the library and gallery which contains a highly-important collection of works by local (Venice and Ferrara) painters from the 15th-18th centuries such as G.B. Tiepolo, Piazzetta, Luca Giordano, Giovanni Bellini, Alessandro Longhi, Rosalba Carriera, and Palma il Vecchio.
After we visit the Museo Civico, situated inside the monastery of S. Bartolomeo, with its interesting archaeological and natural exhibits.
Known also due to its proximity to Sottomarina (the Roman Clugia Major), a principal destination for beach holidays, Chioggia is the second largest city of the lagoon. It possesses elegant architecture and priceless relics of its illustrious past at the side of Venice, the city which it resembles the closest.
Chioggia is a marine town, exhibited only too clearly in its bridges and alleys, and its fishmarket which makes it the centre of fishing par excellence of the Veneto sea.
Our visit takes us to the Duomo of Baldassare Longhena, the Granaio, San Nicolò, San Domenico with its Carpaccio, and Piazzetta Vigo with the statue of “El gato”: the 12th century monument showing a highly idiosyncratic representation of the lion of Saint Mark.
Rounding off our trip we can partake in the traditional cicheto and ombra (snack and drop of wine), watching the coloured boats sailing along the harbour.
We Conclude our tour in the Po Delta, a true marvel of nature: an “amphibious” region of more than 400km2 of land and water which is the largest natural park in Italy and the greatest humid zone in the whole of Europe.
Here we can observe rare species of flora and fauna, and witness the typical casoni, the rural houses with oversize chimneys which were the reference points for fishermen and guardians of the valley, all set within a highly delicate ecosystem of canals, marshes, lagoons, reed thickets and sand bars.
In brief: an exploration of an unspoilt world.
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