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Goro lagoon


The environment

The Sacca is one of the High Adriatic’s largest saltwater lagoons (about 2000 hectares).  It borders the banks of the former Goara and Pioppa Valleys, and with the Mesola Forest, to the northwest; to the north, it borders reclamation areas from the 1900s (Seganda Valley) and with the banks of the Po di Goro.  To the South, the Scannone delimits the boundary with the Adriatic Sea: an outlet of about 1500 m between the Lido di Volano and the punta dello Scannone puts the Sacca Lagoon in communication with the open sea.  The entire lagoon district can be subdivided into three different environments: The Sacca proper, characterized by open waters, the Gorino Valleys, characterized by dense groves of reeds and the Scannone di Goro, a sandbar that extends from the estuary of the Po of Goro towards the Volano seashore.  The Scannone is discussed on a separate webpage.

The average depth of the Sacca di Goro is about 60 cm; it receives saltwater from the sea and freshwater from the Po di Goro (by means of the Gorino sluice), the Po di Volano, the White Canal (by means of the Romanina water pump) and from the Giralda Valley lifting equipment, which discharges into the Taglio della Falce.  The mixture of freshwater and saltwater determines a salinity level of about 23%.  The interior sea bottom of the Sacca is characterized by fine sediments (loam and silt).  Sandy bottoms are found beneath the strongest currents, where the Sacca empties into the sea.  The Sacca di Goro is, from an environmental point of view, quite important because it represents the residual of a coastal lagoon typology once widespread prior to the great reclamation efforts perpetuated over the course of the last 150 years.  The ecological peculiarities of this environment permit the settlement and existence of important animal and vegetable communities.  For this reason, it is numbered among wetlands of international importance as defined by the Ramsar Convention (Bondesan in Corbetta 1990, Pagnoni and Caramori 1999).



In the areas of Gorino Valleys and on the border between the Sacca and Po di Goro that are sheltered from the currents and characterized by shallow and clayish soils, the most common marsh growth is the common reed (Phragmites australis).  In the deeper brackish areas of the Sacca’s interior, where the disturbance from waves and currents is greater, one finds submergent vegetation dominated by algae (Sint. Ulvetalia).  The ulva ulva (Ulva rigida) and gracilaria (Gracilaria verrucosa) populations of floating algae settle on soft and muddy substrates; enteromorpha (Enteromorpha compressa) is found on hard substrates.  The submergent vegetation is poor in species richness, yet reaches enormous quantities of biomass, and a substantial number of planktonic and benthic animals live in these communities.  In sheltered waters with weaker sea currents, such as Gorino Valleys, submerged grasslands (Sint. Ruppietalia) of ruppia (Ruppia cirrhosa), in which the algal component may still be sizeable, settle.  In the area between Goro and Gorino, sheltered by the banks of the ex-Vallazza Valley, a group of Gracilaria verrucosa (red algae) is present: macrophyte communities that move across the sea bottom, endowed with great natural value.  In the bordering region between the Sacca and the Scannone, in conditions of brief immersion and in the absence of disturbance from waves, loamy silt soils host halophile and halotolerant vegetation: 1) communities of pioneer annual halophytes dominated by Salicornia veneta, a species endemic to the High Adriatic (Sint. Salicornietum venetae) that is of great natural value; 2) grasslands of Puccinellia palustris (Sint. Limonio narbonensis-Puccinellietum festuciformis), that are generally poor of other species, among which Aster Tripolium (high natural value); 3) saliferous meadows of Juncus maritimus (Sint. Puccinellio festuciformis-Juncetum maritimi), accompanied by Aster tripolium, Limomnium serotinum and Puccinella palustris; 4) dense grasslands with hump summits dominated by Elytrigia atherica



The Sacca di Goro is a wetlands area of international importance for the hibernation of many bird species.  It was inserted into the Ramsar Convention list for this reason (Iran, 1971).  Thousands of Little Grebes (Tachibaptus ruficollis) and Black-necked Grebes (Podiceps nigricllis), as well as hundreds of Great Crested Grebes (Podiceps cristatus), hibernate in the Sacca’s central areas each year.  In winter, dozens of Goosanders and Red-breasted Mergansers (Mergus merganser and M. serrator), and smaller numbers of Black Scoters (Melanita nigra) and Loons (Gavia spp.) descend from Northern Europe. 


Among the most common hibernating ducks are the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca), and Common Pochard (Aythya ferina).  Eurasian Coots (Fulica atra), Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta), Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea) and Great White Egrets (Egretta alba) are also widespread.  The emergent sandbars of the Sacca and Scannone are exploited by thousands of Dunlins (Calidris alpina) and hundreds of Red Knots (Calidris canutus), a rather rare species in Italy. 

In summer, diverse species nest in the Goro, some of which are rare nesters in the Delta.  Among these are the Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna), Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) and Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus), which nest among the vast reed beds; as well as the Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus), Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), and Little Tern (Sterna albifrons), which nest among depressions in the estuary sandbars.

The Sacca is an important feeding site for the Adriatic sturgeon (Acipenser naccarii) and the European sea sturgeon (Acipenser sturio), particularly during the juvenile phase; in addition, Canestrini’s goby (Pomatoschistus canestrini) and the Adriatic dwarf goby (Knipowitschia panizzae) are historically present here.


To visit

The entire central part of the Sacca di Goro is accessible by boat and by guided boat visits that depart from Goro and Gorino. 




Lagoons and brackish valleys


CTR 1:25.000 - 187SE; 205 NE


about 2000 ha




Open waters of the Sacca: State land administration, Merchant Navy Branch

Waters in front of the Goara:  Emilia-Romagna Region

Seganda Valley and N. Gorino Valleys: Emilia-Romagna Region

S. Gorino Valleys: State land administration, Merchant Navy Branch



Harbormaster of the Port of Ravenna for open water areas, ex AFSD (national public forest company) for RNS part, province of Ferrara for the oasis zone




The area is subject to the regulations of L. 431/1985.  Like the Po di Volano estuary zone, it is subject to the landscape restrictions of L. 1497/1939.  These two regulations were incorporated into and abrogated by D.L.  490/1999, still in force.  The hydrogeological restriction, pursuant to the 1923 R.D. 3267, applies only to the area overlooking Mesola Forest, in proximity to the northwest bank of the Sacca which is impacted by phragmite colonization.  The site is included within the limiting boundaries of the Delta Park, pursuant to L.R. 27/1988 and the 1991 and 1997 Volano-Mesola-Goro Station Plans: Pre-park (PP.MAR) in the open-water zone of the Sacca proper; zone B (B.Mar) of the park, known as Gorino Valleys, in the east and in the west, in the immediate vicinity of Mesola and Goara Forests until the White Channel flows into the sea.  The 1991 Territorial Plan erroneously included the Scanno di Goro and State Natural Reserve of the Po di Volano Estuary in zone B.  Another difference with respect to the more recent plan is the greater width (in 1991) of the western portion of zone B.

The Sacca di Goro and part of the Ramsar Zone are included in the State Natural Reserve known as “Gorino Valley and adjacent territories”, instituted by DM 13/07/1981 (G.U. 339 of 10/12/1982).

Near the Lighthouse is the Faunistic Oasis known as “Gorino Lighthouse” (175 hectares). ???

Special Protection Zone (IT4060016), known as “Sacca di Goro, Dindona Valley, Po di Volano Estuary,” pursuant to DIR 79/409 EEC (4127 hectares).  Site of Community Importance (IT4060005), known as “Sacca di Goro, Po di Goro, Dindona Valley, Po di Volano Estuary,” identified pursuant to DIR 92/43/CEE (4387 hectares).





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