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Santa Giustina Wood or Fasanara Wood



The environment

The Santa Giustina Wood is a thin woody strip which stretches from the built-up area of Santa Giustina to the Po area of Goro, for about 4 km. The Santa Giustina wood and the Mesola wood (see further) are on shorelines that formed after the 12th century, when the coastline moved forward (Bondesan 1982a, 1982b), they are the remaining part of a large complex of coastal thermophilic forests, which in the Middle Ages stretched to the mouth of the Tagliamento river. In the delta area this complex of woods was called Eliceo Wood due to the large presence of the holm oak  (Quercus ilex).

The two woods developed on the same geomorphological structure and have the same plant communities. The Mesola Wood is famous for the Mesola estate, but only the Santa Giustina Wood and the woody hills are the remaining part of the estate of Mesola, of the Este family (they were respectively the eastern and the central part of the estate), the Boscone area was external to the estate.

The soil is alluvial, it partly originated from marine deposits with sand dunes, and partly from river sediments of clay (Mantovani and Pelleri 1991, Pagnoni 1998).

The flora
In the Southern part of the wood, immediately North from the Santa Giustina built-up area and near the external boundaries, there are stands that are typical for areas with a high phreatic aquifer level (Alnetaliae glutinosae), characterized by the white poplar (Populus alba), the alder buckthorn (Frangula alnus), the field elm (Ulmus minor), the black poplar (Populus nigra), and the black alder (Alnus glutinosa), of medium-level naturalistic value. In the central part of the wood, where the dunes are more noticeable, there is a sub-Mediterranean thermophilic brushwood with evergreen oaks (Quercion ilicis) which is identical to that of the Mesola wood, in terms of vegetation, dominated by the holm oak (Quercus ilex) and which is also characterized by Phillyrea angustifolia, Asparagus acutifolius, Clematis flammula, Rubia peregrina, Ruscus aculeatus, Osyris alba and Rosa sempervirens, together with mesophilic species. In the wood there are large stone pines  (Pinus pinea), which were probably planted by the forest management in the first half of the 20th century. In the lowlands that are particularly close to the aquifer level, which are cool and humid, there is a swamp wood (Cladio-Fraxinetum oxycarpae) with the following tree species: narrow-leaved ash (Fraxinus oxycarpae), white and grey poplar (Populu alba and P. canescens), field elm (Ulmus minor) and black poplar (Populus nigra). In the Northern part there is a thermophilic deciduous wood with English oaks (Quercus robur), European and oriental hornbeams (Carpinus betulus e C. orientalis) and holm oaks (Quercus ilex), that is identical to the Mesola Wood. In 1959-1960 many English oaks were planted (Quercus robur).The lack of grazing land for deer, that are only in the Boscone area, makes the vegetation of the Santa Giustina wood richer and more varied, and with a thick underwood (Corticelli 1999, Pellizzari and Pagnoni 1998, Pagnoni 1998).

Mendica Meadows
Between the Santa Giustina wood and the  Po area of Goro there is a humid meadow with Carex extensa and Juncus gerardi, of high naturalistic value. In spring this area is characterized by the blooming of wild orchids (Orchis palustris, O. laxiflora, O. incarnata), of high naturalistic value.


The fauna

The woods of the Po area have a rich fauna, there are no important emergency situations for the fauna, except for the presence of the Hermann’s tortoise.



In the wood there is a naturalistic route that is managed by the Province of Ferrara, which can be enjoyed on foot or bike.  




CTR 1:25.000 - 187SE


102.37.60 + map passage 120; 203 ha of wildlife sanctuary



Owned by

Emilia Romagna Region


Province of Ferrara



Partly subject to restrictions as area of outstanding natural beauty1497/1939 called “Boschetti del Gradizzo e di Santa Giustina” (Thickets of Gradizzo and Santa Giustina). Environmental restriction according to Law 431/1985. The above-mentioned laws were abrogated by the decree-law 490/1999 that is currently in force.

Hydrogeological restriction according to the Royal Decree 3267 of 30/01/1923.

“Santa Giustina” wildlife sanctuary (203 ha), established by the Provincial Council no. 304/10021 of August 1, 1979, which includes, in addition to the woodland area, some private agricultural land in the surrounding area and the Panfilia pine forest.

The site lies within the boundaries of the Delta Park, according to the Regional Law 27/1988 and to the Plan of the Volano- Mesola – Goro station of 1991 and 1997 (area B.PIN). Site of community importance (IT4060006) called “Mesola wood, Panfilia wood, Santa Giustina wood”, identified according to the directive 92/42/EEC (1236 ha).



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