The Development of the New Lands

Porto Viro cut-off radically changed the geography of the Delta; kilometers of new land replaced the sea and were object of an intense colonization.
In approximately 200 years, from 1604 to the end of the Republic of Venice (1797), the mouth of the river Po advanced of about 26 km. Meanwhile, the beds of the river Po and other rivers, which from the Middle Ages had been provided with embankments, raised over the years more than once, raised more and more with respect to the adjacent countryside.

Polesine di Loreo and sea floods from the beds of Po delle Fornaci raised by the new cut-off. Rovigo, Accademia dei Concordi (the north on the right)Confisca nuove terre Delta
GIAVARINA LORENZO - PANNATI ISEPPO, Confiscation of Delta new lands, 15th January 1624. Venice, State Archive (the north on the right)
Rustico Nobile MatronaFarmer, Venetian noblemen, and Venetian matron from PIETRO BERTELLI, Diversarum Nationum Habitus, Padova 1594. Rovigo, Accademia dei Concordi

Settlements in the Po Delta: The Communities

Before the Venetian Delta cut-off there were only two main settlements: Loreo and Mazzorno. After the cut-off, the local population increased thanks to the job opportunities offered by the new lands. Between 1665 and 1680, Contarina (1665), Cà Cappello (1666), Rosolina (1670), and Donada (1680) were founded. The first parish churches on the "very new floods" date back to 1684: Villaregia and San Nicolò. Donzella (1698) and Bagliona di Po (1707) followed. In 1737 Gnocca oratory and in 1739 Cà Tiepolo oratory were built, while Tolle parish church dates back to 1740. A church was built in Taglio di Po at the beginning of the 17th century. The new communities were under Chioggia diocese, they still belong to. Venice annexed to its metropolitan area all the lands and towns which gradually formed in the Delta.

Frontespizio Catastico
Loreo Land Register Frontispice by Giorgio Fossati and Caccia Ignazio, 1761. Venice, State Archive

STEFANO CHIEREGHIN, L'utile e felice situazione della città di Chioggia e suo porto, Venice 1798. P.g.c. Bottega delle Arti di Padova

"Onde de Mar": The Noble Settlement in the Delta

Since the beginning of the 16th century, Venice had been selling the Delta estates of Adria and Loreo communities to noble families like Grimani, Contarini, and Malipiero. With sale contracts called "onde de mar", it was also selling the stretches of sea in front of the coast that would have shortly become new lands. After the cut-off, many wealthy families from Venice purchased estates in the Delta. The presence of Venetian noble families in the Delta is not only witnessed by the toponymy, but also by the several villas built during the rule of Serenissima.

Ca Zen Avanzo
Cà Zen-Avanzo, Taglio di Po (Rovigo), photo L. Bottaro

Ca Tiepolo Vianelli
Cà Tiepolo or Vianelli, Isola di Albarella (Rosolina – Rovigo), photo L. Bottaro
SOARDI GEROLAMO - MAFFIOLETTI MICHELE, The Delta with the estates assignment, April 1767. Venice, State Archive
Po Goro Po Levante
Po di Goro and Po di Levante course with the new cut-off, January 1612. Venice, State Archive (the north on the right)
Disegno Polesine Ariano
Drawing of Polesine d'Ariano in the Ferrarese area with part of the neighboring Venetian territory: it is evident that, after Porto Viro cut-off, Polesine and the border were no longer respected by the Venetians..., color drawing. Ferrara, Biblioteca Comunale AriosteaPolesine di Rovigo
PAOLO BARTOLOMEO CLARICI, Polesine di Rovigo with part of the adjacent and neighboring territories, Venice 1721. 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"