The Po Delta before the Cut-Off

Before Porto Viro cut-off there were four Po deltas: - the north Po delle Fornaci delta, whose main mouth branches were Po di Tramontana, Po di Levante, and Po di Scirocco, named after their position with respect to the winds; - the south Po di Ariano delta, with two mouth branches, Po di Goro and Po dell'Abate; - Po di Volano delta, in the east of Pomposa; - Po di Primaro delta, about 10 km from Ravenna.

 Corografia territorio
ALBERTO PENNA, Chorography of the territory of Ravenna, drawing, 1658 in Atlante del Ferrarese. Ferrara, Biblioteca Comunale Ariostea

The Middle Ages

The early Middle Ages were characterized by frequent rain cycles that favored the development of the marshes. Roads and settlements began to develop again almost exclusively along the rivers.
In the north, Venice was founded. Via Popillia was replaced by Via Romea, crossing Pomposa, a Benedictine monastery and an important political and cultural center of the Delta. The considerable initial activity of Po di Volano and Po di Primaro, at the bifurcation of which Ferrara rose, was flanked in the late Middle Ages by the development of the new course originating in Ficarolo, which at the half of the 14th century acquired a dominating role.

Abbazia Pomposa
Pomposa Abbey (Codigoro – Ferrara), photo A. Samaritani
Resti nave medioevale
Rests of a medieval ship found in Porto Viro in Sulla, Scoperta di due barche antiche nel comune di Contarina (Rovigo), Venice 1901

Ports in the Delta

Since ancient times, several river and maritime ports have been founded in the Delta. From the Middle Ages to the 17th century, the most important landing stages were, from south to north, Cervia, Ravenna, Perétolo, Primaro, Magnavacca (Porto Garibaldi), Volano, Goro, Loreo, Fornaci, Fossone, Brondolo.

Fisolera
Fisolera boat, from PIETRO BERTELLI, Diversarum Nationum Habitus, Padova 1594. Rovigo, Accademia dei Concordi

Porto Viro, Ancient Landing Stage of the Delta

Porto Viro, on the right bank of Po delle Fornaci, probably was Loreo ancient port.
As a matter of fact, the term Viro derives from the Latin "vetero", meaning "old" (from vetus-veteris).

Topografia Polesine
DOMENICO MARCHETTI - ALVISE MILANOVICH, Topography of Polesine di Rovigo, engraved by ANTONIO SANDI, Venice 1786 (detail of Porto Viro area)
M. BONDESAN, Situation of the territory towards the early Middle Ages Chiesa San Basilio
San Basilio Church (Ariano nel Polesine – Rovigo)
legenda
M. BONDESAN, Situation of the territory at the beginning of the 17th century map02 2 Porto medievale
Medieval port from LODOVICO MENIN, Il costume di tutti i tempi e di tutte le nazioni. Descritto e illustrato. Atlante, 19th century. Rovigo, Accademia dei Concordi

Leader+ Community Initiative Measure 2.1 Action 2.1a) "Interterritorial Cooperation"
Project: "Historical-Cultural Heritage Enhancement and Tourist Promotion of the Po Delta Territory"
Action A: Po Delta "Heritage Promotion"