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Fattibello Valley




Fattibello Valley is a basin of brackish waters that communicates with the sea via the Navigable Canal and the Longonovo.  It is the only valley impacted by tidal movements.  Its current boundaries began to take shape in the 17th century, when the Pallotta Canal (to the east) and S. Pietro Canal (to the west) were created; connecting to Torrerossa Canal in the south, these canals delimit the Fattibello, Spavola and Venighi Valleys.  In the first half of the 20th century, the surrounding valleys were drained, and embankments raised up that delimited the boundary between the present-day valleys and territories to be reclaimed.  The initial stretch of Pallotta Canal was used for the development of the Navigable Canal (Ferrara’s principle aquatic thoroughfare); the meanders winding by the saltworks were substituted by a diverting canal that cut across Capre Valley.

The realization of Logonovo Canal and the Fattibello Sub-lagoonal Canal in the early 1960s assigned a decisive imprint to that layout.  The canals were originally envisaged for the disposal of water drained from the reclaimed territories.  In the late 1970s, an increase in the coastal movement of sand due to the dismantling of the Reno estuary determined the progressive blockage of the Logonovo estuary, throwing that hydraulic system into crisis.  F.I.O. 84 funds were used to resection the Sub-lagoonal and Logonovo Canals up to the estuary, and a lock with 12 lights, situated between the two canals, was opened.  Fatibello Valley thus became a refuse basin and permitted the continued functioning of Logonovo Canal.

In the 1990s (resolution of the Interministerial Committee for Economic Planning, 3 August 1994), the sub-lagoonal canal and several extant valley canals were dredged and resectioned, and a new canal encircling Spavola Valley was excavated.  These efforts contributed to an increase in the capacity of tidal flows into the entire basin.  They brought about a substantial improvement in hydraulic efficiency, particularly in the eastern part of the basin, which had previously been most susceptible to dystrophic crises (Peretti and Matteucci, 1999). The Fattibello Valley-Spavola Valley complex is quite important from a hydrodynamic and environmental point of view, as it is responsible for part of the water turnover of the Comacchio Valley system.  Much of the water drained by the hydraulic pumps of Polesine di S. Giorgio flows into the complex; the Ferrarese Navigable Canal passes through it; here freshwater mixes with saltwater flowing from the only outlets to the sea (the Porto and Logonovo Canals).  In conditions of continuous obstruction of the Bellocchio-Gobbino Canal, Fattibello Valley and its internal canals offer space for the natural recovery and renewal of plant and fish populations.



Most of the open waters (Fattibello Valley) lack any vegetation.  Spavola Valley offers greater interest in this respect.

On the borders of humps in frequently flooded areas, perennial halophile vegetation dominated by Arthrocnemum fruticosum (Sint. Puccinellio festuciformis-Sarcocernietum fruticosae) grows, often in the company of hygrophilous species such as Juncus maritimus and Puccinellia palustris and less hygrophilous species such as Arthrocnemum glaucum and Halimione portulacoides.

This community is particularly common in the eastern area of Spavola Valley.  In proximity to the embankments of the sub-lagoonal canal, one finds meadows of Puccinella palustris with great naturalistic value (Sint. Limonio narbonensis- Puccinellietum festuciformis) and few other species (among which Aster tripolium).  On the highest parts of shoals, rarely flooded and with slightly nitrophilous soil, grow communities of great naturalistic value composed of Artemisia coerulescens and Limonium serotinum (Sint. Limonio narbonensis- Artemisietum coerulescentis); Agropyron elongatum, Limonium virgatum and Inula crithmoides are also common.  Elytrigia atherica, scarce in naturalistic value, dominates vegetation on the encircling embankments. 



Fattibello Valley and the canals by which it communicates with the sea are particularly important for the renewal of plant and fish populations in Comacchio Valleys; all of the traditional brackish valley species, including eels, big-scale sand smelts, mullets, European seabasses and Gilt-head breams are found here.  There are also long-standing Mediterranean killifish and Adriatic dwarf goby populations.  The site is important for the wintering of Great Crested Grebes, Black-necked Grebes, Eurasian Coots, seagulls and Yellow-legged gulls.  In the wake of hydraulic layout operations carried out in the 1990s, which created new environments not previously present, fauna population numbers appear to have improved.


To visit

The area is zone B of the Park and is usable only from the perimeter and sub-lagoonal canal embankments, accessible from the entrance to the Saline di Comacchio.  


Typology Lagoons and brackish valleys
Cartography CTR 1:25.000 – 205 SE
Extension 650 ha
Municipality Comacchio
Property Emilia Romagna Region
Management Public use for fishing



Landscaping restrictions pursuant to L. 1497 and the regulations set out by L. 431/1985.  Currently subject to the restrictions of D.L. 490/1999.

The site is included within the limiting boundaries of the Delta Park, pursuant to L.R. 27/1998, and within the limiting boundaries set out by the 1993 “Comacchio Historical Center” Territorial Plan (Zone B).

Oasis for the Protection of Fauna known as “Valle Fattibello” (610 ha), instituted by Resolution GP n. 250/5778 of 30/07/1981.

Ramsar Zone known as “Residual valleys of the Comacchio district” (13100 ha) instituted by D.M. 13/07/1981, published on the GU n. 203 of 25/07/1981.

The complex forms part of the Site of Community Interest (IT4060002) known as “Residual valleys of the Comacchio district” (13100 ha), instituted pursuant to DIR 92/43/EEC; and of the Special Protection Zone (IT4060002), as set out by DIR 79/409.



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