The longest river in Italy, the Po flows down from the Alps near the French border for more than 400 miles (644 kilometers), winding its way east through Turin, Piacenza, and Ferrara and connecting to Milan via a network of canals before emptying into the Adriatic Sea. The Po Valley is one of Italy’s most fertile and lush regions.
The Po River has been an important waterway for thousands of years. The vast Po Valley lining the river has rich soil due to the Po’s frequent flooding, making the valley one of the most fertile agricultural regions in Italy. In addition, the river powers a number of hydroelectric plants, so the valley is a critical industrial hub.
The most beautiful stretch of the Po is its final delta, just south of Venice and straddling the Veneto and Emilia-Romagna regional border. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and regional park, the Po Delta covers wetlands and wooded areas, and is home to a wide variety of plants and wildlife. You can visit the Po River as part of a walking tour of Turin or another city along the river’s path, or by joining a guided nature tour of the Po Delta Park on the Adriatic coast.
Things to Know Before You Go
- City walking tours and nature tours of the Po River are outdoors and require significant time on your feet, so choose comfortable shoes and dress for the weather.
- A city river walk or a visit to Po Delta Regional Park can be fun for kids who need a break from museums and churches.
- A number of park visitor centers and paths are accessible to wheelchairs; contact Po Delta Regional Park for detailed accessibility information.
- The park is especially popular for birdwatching, due to the many and varied bird species that migrate and nest in the delta.
How to Get There
The Po runs through several cities in northern Italy, and can be visited via scenic bridges and river walks along the water’s edge in Turin, Piacenza, and Ferrara. Po Delta Regional Park is located on Highway 309 on the Adriatic Coast, along the border between Emilia-Romagna and Veneto; there is no public transportation to the park, so the best way to visit is to join a guided tour that includes transport.
When to Get There
The Po is particularly beautiful and enjoyable in the mild months of spring and fall. During the hottest summer months, it’s best to visit the Po Delta park in the early morning or late evening to avoid the midday sun.
The Overflowing Po
One of the main agricultural crops grown in the Po Valley is rice, thanks to the river's frequent flooding into the surrounding plains. Dams and dykes help control the overflow, but the plains are still at risk for floods during heavy rains that bring both damage and rich sediment to the area.