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The Comacchio saltpan is an area of approximately 600 ha, located in the northern portion of the Comacchio Valleys district, an area in which traces of delta branches of the Po River from the Roman period can be identified. The saltpan area is an inter-municipal basin whose eastern boundary corresponds to the dune belt from the late Roman period along which the current Romea road runs. It is bordered to the N by the Torre Rossa Canal (Canale Fosse Foce), to the E by the Bayon Canal and to the S and E by Valle Campo.

The Comacchio area has been reported as a supplier of salt since very ancient times for the whole of Padania, but it is not certain that the oldest plants were located in the same area. The Venetian Republic resorted to acts of war more than once to gain possession of them; the salt pans were then disputed between the Ravennati and the Estensi and, in the 17th century, came under papal rule. The salt-pans owe their current morphology to the interventions made by Napoleon’s government in 1808, when Comacchio became part of the Cisalpine Republic. The basic features of that project have been maintained to this day (Bondesan in Corbetta 1990).

In ancient times, the basins were fed by the hydraulic contribution of the tide, and the positive elevations of the seabed allowed for particularly intense evaporation. Today, when the basins are below sea level, the water is taken from the Logonovo Canal and distributed inside thanks to water pumps. The salt pans consist mainly of basins to contain the water and to a lesser extent of emerged surface, consisting of earthen separation embankments. Due to its function, the salt pans have basins at different depths and channels with deep water, which increases the morphological and ecological diversity of the area.

Salt production at the Comacchio Salt Pans was interrupted in 1984 and they are currently managed for exclusively naturalistic purposes. The saltpan was established as a fauna protection oasis by the Provincial Administration of Ferrara on 1 August 1979; it is also included among the stations that make up the territory of the Po Delta Regional Park, established by Regional Law no. 27 of 2 July 1988. At present, its management is entrusted to the State Monopolies Directorate General, which manages the Cervia saltpan, which also includes the former Comacchio saltpan.

Today, in the Comacchio salt-pan, work is at an advanced stage of completion on the “LIFE Project” financed in 2001 by the European Union, for the restoration of hydraulic functionality, with the demolition of over 3 kilometres of the old power line and the burying of the new replacement, and restoration work on the artisanal production area covering a 4-hectare portion of the salt-pan, with the execution of naturalistic engineering work.