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San Vitale pine forest



The first written documents that prove the presence of pine forests in the Ravenna area date back to the 6th century A.D., but today’s coastal pine forests are much more recent, they developed on shorelines that formed after the 12th century A.D. With the fall of the Western Roman Empire Justinian ceded them to the Archbishop Agnello, starting a long and prosperous monastic domination of the pine forests.  During that period the pine forests reached their maximum extension: 6,000 – 7,000 hectares; the monks had absolute power over them, only leaving grazing rights and a common of estovers to the population, together with the rights to hunt and fish. In 1797, when  religious orders were suppressed by the French, the pine forests of Ravenna started to suffer. The goods of the monks were ceded to individuals, which rapidly started to use large woodland areas for cultivation purposes, interrupting what had been, until that period, a continuous strip of land characterized by pine forests, from the Reno river to Cervia. Of the initial 6,000 – 7,000 hectares of wood only one third is left, between the pine forests of San Vitale, Classe and Cervia.

The environment


The San Vitale pine forest is a  wood with many different species, from the stone pine, its main species, with the characteristic umbrella-shaped foliage, to the English oak, the poplar, the ash, the holm oak and a rich underwood. There are many species of wood birds, the most important ones for conservation purposes are the great spotted woodpecker, the lesser spotted woodpecker, the mistle thrush, some nighttime birds of prey (scops owl, tawny owl, little owl and long-eared owl), many perching birds and wood chiropterans. There is an important heronry with little egrets and black-winged stilts, mainly in the lowland of Buca del Cavedone and in Bassa del Pirottolo, a suitable environment for food and nesting. In the lowlands there is also the pond turtle (Emys orbicularis). In the San Vitale pine forest there is also a quite large population of skunks. 




The San Vitale pine forest has many different points of access, which are all almost perpendicular to the Romea main road. From here it is possible to reach the signaled paths in the woodland area: 2 Casa Ponticelle/ Pineta -it crosses lengthwise the whole San Vitale pine forest, from North to South to Taglio della Baiona, connecting to the paths 2a and 2 b; 2a Cà Vecchia/ Fossatone – The existing ring-shaped path starts from Cà Vecchia, crosses the San Vitale pine forest and Bassa del Pirottolo and leads to Pialassa Baiona. The ring is the most enchanting path of the whole San Vitale pine forest, where it is possible to see and visit different areas and landscapes; 2 b Cà Nova ring – this ring-shaped route is inside the pine forest, near Cà Nova, it goes along the southern border of the drainage channel of Via Cerba, reaching Pialassa delle Baiona, then going back inside the pine forest and continuing in the direction of the parking lot of Casa pinetale ;6 equestrian route in the pine forest – this route goes inside the pine forest, crossing the main roads and crossing the forest from North to South, from Casa ponticelle to the bridge on Taglio della Baiona.  




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The San Vitale pine forest lies within the boundaries of the Po Delta Park, defined by the Regional Law 27/1988. The station territorial plan that was adopted with deliberation of the Municipal Council  279/23841 of 14/05/1991 classifies the site as “pre-park” area, except for some areas near the main road no. 309 (Area C).

Besides, the San Vitale pine forest is subject to restrictions according to Law no. 431 of 08/08/1985 and Law 1497/1939; it is also subject to the regulations referred to in the decree-law 490/1999. The area is also subject to a hydrogeological restriction according to the Royal Decree 3267/23, it is a site of community importance and special protection area (SCI = SPA) (IT4070003 – “San Vitale pine forest and Bassa del Pirottolo”) according to the directive 79/409 EEC and the directive 92/43/EEC.




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