Luigi Groto

Window on the Territory

The three-year project aimed at highlighting the value of the sources and evidences found in the territory for the historical reconstruction, as well as the transversality of the discipline in the development process of our own personal identity.
The research activities included the organization of educational workshops dealing with specific issues. The workshops have played an essential role in the educational action aiming at the growth and enhancement of the persons in all their aspects

From the Oration to the New Cut-Off

Luigi Groto, called the Blind Man of Adria

Luigi Groto was born in Adria on 7th September 1541 from the notary Federico and Maria Rivieri.
As he wrote, he became blind eight days after his birth. His father died when he was three and he was educated by tutors who had him trained in classical languages.
He was a genius and in 1556 was sent to Venice to represent the town of Adria in front of the Queen of Poland, during a solemn event.
In 1569 he delivered an oration to urge Porto Viro cut-off in front of Doge Loredan.
He wrote tragedies, plays, pastoral dramas, and rhymes for madrigals. He expressed his originality in his tragedy "Hadriana", that William Shakespeare read before writing his Romeo and Juliet.
He died in Venice on 13th December 1585 and was buried in the Cathedral of Adria.

 Venice lagoon was threatened by a silting-up process caused by the detritus transported by the riversFase1
The Venetian merchants were worried because they thought their activities could be endangered by this problem

Since the river delta lay on the border between the Republic of Venice and the Papal State, it was often the cause of political and economic struggles between the two states
Fase 2
Engineers, land owners, and cartographers presented more than once to the Doge of Venice projects to divert the course of the river

Also the humanist from Adria Luigi Groto, called the Blind Man of Adria, asked the Senate to perform the cut-off
Fase 3
After the death of the Duke of Ferrara Alfonso II, Venice entered into negotiations with the Papacy to perform the cut-off

  • Istitito Comprensivo di Adria Due (Rovigo) Primary School

    Istituto Comprensivo di Porto Viro (Rovigo) Primary School “Mons. Sante Tiozzo”

Story board1

Story board
Pupils writing a story board for a cartoon dedicated to the history of Porto Viro cut-off

luoghi Taglio
Pupils visiting the cut-off places look at old maps and compare it with modern maps

Carta storica
Reproduction of the historical plan of Porto Viro cut-off made by pupils

The Oration about the Cut-Off

On 17th November 1569, Luigi Groto delivered in front of the Venetian Senate his famous oration supporting the performance of Porto Viro cut-off: Stando così le cose, l'acque sostenute contrastano le docce e le campagne rimangono accidiose. Così il verno non è ordine di seminare e la state non è speranza di raccogliere; l'acque riempiono i campi già divenuti laghi e le case già divenute cisterne... Hadria e Loredo non vi scorgete altro intorno che ampio mare... Se ne partono le biade e i legumi, le viti e i salici, i greggi e gli armenti, le case e i padroni, le chiese, gli altari e le madri co' figli al seno...

(As matters stand, the abundance of water makes the countryside wet and gloomy. You cannot sow in winter and you cannot harvest in summer; fields have turned into lakes and houses into reservoirs... Hadria and Loredo are surrounded by the sea... Fodder and legumes, vineyards and willows, flocks and herds, the houses with their owners, churches, altars, and mothers with their children can no longer live here...)

The Solution

Cotal infermità non si possa con altro rimedio risanare, che non dare un salasso al Po di sopra alla Fuossa a man dritta dell'ingiù della vena nominata Porto Viro, fra i confini di Vostra Serenità e far che per quel taglio sbocchi nel mare: perciochè poter schifarsi i due danni mentovati sopra dell'inondazioni e delle alterazioni.

(The one and only solution for this disease consists of draining the river Po above the Fuossa, straight down its branch called Porto Viro, between the borders of Serenissima. The diverted branch should flow into the sea: in this way, the damages caused by the floods and changes could be prevented.)

The project was becoming real and the river would have had a new course

Fase 4
The works were directed by the superintendent Alvise Zorzi and workers coming also from other countries were employed in order to carry out this project, which was extraordinary for that time

New banks were built and on 16th September 1604 "the waters were given a new course"
Fase 5
Venice was safe and could continue to exercise its power over the Po Delta

New lands replaced the sea and were drained
Fase 6
The population grew and new communities developed, like Donada, Contarina, Rosolina, Ca' Cappello, etc.: new towns that Venice annexed to its territory

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"