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White Canal – Torre Abate

 


 

Environment

Torre Abate is certainly the most interesting hydraulic structure of the entire Delta del Po.  It was built in 1569 during the Great Estense Reclamation to favor the flow of water from the Ferrarese heights down to the sea.

A state-of-the-art work of hydraulic engineering in its time, the tower was positioned over the drainage canal in proximity to the outlet to the sea.  The lock was equipped with special doors designed by Leonardo da Vinci which, resting upon basins in the water, opened into the sea at low tide to allow the outward flow of water and closed at high tide to impede ebbing. 

The lock was placed on the Po Morto dell’Abate, a river branch divided from the Po di Goro in order to receive the Bentivoglio and Seminiato Canals and drain water off the heights of the Great Reclamation.  Built in the 17th century, the structure was used as a guard tower and incorporated into the walls protecting the Mesola estate.           

The pond around the tower was excavated and restored in 1982, a project of the Province of Ferrara’s Hunting and Fishing Service.  The canal at the Po Morto dell’Abate lock was partially restored.  In 1968, the tower was the object of an architectural repair effort overseen by the BB.AA.AA. Superintendence of Ravenna (Baricchi and Massaretti 1988, Malagu 1988, Mantovani and Pelleri 1991).

 

Flora

The pond beside the tower hosts marshy vegetation, characterized by reeds (Phragmites australis) and narrow leaf cattails (Typha angustifolia).  Ultricularia australis is another notable presence.  In the more elevated areas of the pond, to the south of the tower, grows scrubland (Sint. Prunetalia spinosae) with Prunus spinosa, Crataegus monogyna, Ligustrum vulgare, Cornus sanguinea, Coronilla emerus, Rhamnus catherticus, Rubus sp., Rosa sp., Euonymus europaeus; as well as a swampy forest (Sint. Alnetalia glutinosae) with Populus alba, Frangola alnus, Ulmus minor, Populus nigra and Alnus glutinosa (Corticelli 1999, Pellizzari and Pagnoni 1998). 

 

Fauna

Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni) maintains an isolated relic community.

 

To visit

An information office is located inside the tower (reception tel. 0533/99376).  Here historical maps, images of the territory and a model explaining the functioning of the lock are displayed.  The entire area around the water’s surface is freely accessible.

 

 

Typology Historical building, lakes
Cartography  
Extension Pond beneath Torre Abate: 00.34.60 ha
Municipality Mesola
Property

Pond beneath Torre Abate: Emilia-Romagna Region
Pond south of Torre Abate: Municipality of Mesola

Management Torre Abate and pond: Province of Ferrara
(agreement with private citizens)
Pond south of Torre Abate: Municipality of Mesola

 

                     

Obligations

The Torre Abate Pond is partially subject to the landscaping restrictions known as “Valley and Torre dell’Abate,” pursuant to L. 1497/1939 (abrogated by D.L. 490/1999, still in force).

Fuana Protection Oasis known as Santa Giustina (203 ha), instituted by C.P. n. 304/10021 of 1/8/79.

The site is included within the limiting boundaries of the Delta Park, pursuant to L.R. 27/1988 and the Volano-Mesola-Goro Station Plans of 1991 (Zone B) and 1997 (Zone C.AGR.B3).

 

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