Venice, the Delta, and the Adriatic Sea

Venice and Ferrara struggled more than once for the control of Polesine: in the 14th century, in 1404, and between 1482 and 1484 the so-called "salt war" was fought. Venice and Ferrara fought again for Polesine between 1509 and 1512. After this war, Venice extended its rule over the territory of Adria and almost in the whole area of Po delle Fornaci, while Ferrara continued to control only a part of Ariano Island.
Serenissima had been exercising for centuries an exclusive jurisdiction in the Adriatic Sea, forbidding the access to non-authorized foreign war and merchant ships and forcing them to pay duty. For this reason, the Adriatic Sea was called Gulf of Venice.

 Palazzo Ducale
Palazzo Ducale in Ferrara, from Usi e costumi di tutti i popoli dell'universo, Milan 1859. Rovigo, Accademia dei Concordi
Fossa Polesella Fossa di Polesella and support, 18th century. Rovigo, Accademia dei Concordi

Polesella Battle

During the war called "Lega di Cambrai War" between 1509 and 1512, Venice fought against the Papacy, the Empire, the French, and Ferrara. The war was characterized by ups and downs, since Venice lost the war first but later reconquered its terra firma territories. During this conflict, on 22nd December 1509 Polesella Battle took place along the river Po. In the same year, the Venetian army occupied Argenta and plundered Comacchio.

Celata
16th century German-style sallet. Badia Polesine, Municipal Museum "A.E. Baruffaldi", Photographic archiveRostri di navi
Ship rostra taken by Ferraresi from the Venetians during Polesella Battle. Ferrara, Ancient Art Municipal Museums

Settore Delta Po
GLISENTI ANTONIO, Stretch of the Delta between Po di Goro and Adige, 1587. Venice, State Archive

A Fence Marking the Border

After the 16th century wars, Venice controlled in the Delta the right side of Po delle Fornaci, where the town Porto Viro was. Ferrara recognized Porto Viro as part of the Venetian rule. Beyond the dunes, the border ran towards Sacca di Goro, which remained in the territory of Ferrara, while Venetians ruled over the area between Po di Tramontana and Po di Scirocco. The border consisted of a wooden fence built by Pendasi from Ferrara, who owned large estates in the Delta. This fence, leaving from Porto Viro and reaching the sea, represented the borderline between the two states.

Delta Po 1592
OTTAVIO FABBRI - GEROLAMO PONTARA, Po Delta, 1592. Venice, State Archive (the north on the right)

GIOVANNI BATTISTA ALEOTTI, Chorography of the State of Ferrara, printing, 1603. Ferrara, Biblioteca Comunale Ariostea

FERRARIO, Costume antico e moderno di tutti i popoli, 19th century. Rovigo, Accademia dei Concordi

Doge parade from PIETRO BERTELLI, Diversarum Nationum Habitus, Padova 1594. Rovigo, Accademia dei Concordi


MATTEO FIANINI, Map of Ferrara with Aldobrandini coat of arms, printing, 1598. Ferrara, Biblioteca Comunale Ariostea
Po mouths before Porto Viro cut-off, drawing. Ferrara, Biblioteca Comunale Ariostea (the north on the right)

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"