Comacchio is a beautiful town on the Po Delta, on the eastern coast of Emilia Romagna and north of Ravenna. The town has developed across a number of islands in the Po Delta, now joined by bridges, and an attractive place where tourists can admire impresive buildings and numerous churches.
Your visit to Comacchio can begin by following along the Canale Maggiore, which also passes some fairly important architectural monuments starting with two bridges, the Bridge of Saint Peter and the so-called 'Prison Bridge'.
From the top of the bridges you can admire the beautiful neo-classical façade of the 1770 San Camillo Hospital designed by Antonio Foschini. The palazzo, designed as a hospital for the poor, is fascinating: the facade reminds us of a Greek temple, with Ionic columns and two slender towers on either side.
Close to here you can also see the Bellini Palace, in warm brick tones and now home to the Public Library and Comacchio City Gallery.
Continuing towards the Piazza Maggiore there are two more buildings that are striking for their elegance and beauty: the Loggia dei Mercanti with its beautiful porch dates from 1621 and was once the the public granary of the city; and the octagonal Clock Tower, rebuilt in the first half of the 19th century.
Further along the Canale Maggiore you come to the 17th century Carmine Church and the Church of the Rosary with a brick façade and portal stone, and quite spectacular because of the reflected light of the brick of both the church and of the bell tower.
The church interior has one nave and four side chapels, and some interesting 16th - 17th century paintings such as the 'Annunciation' by Jacopo Bambini, the 'Beheading of Saint John' by Carlo Bononi, and the 'Virgin of the Rosary' by the local painter Cesare Mezzogori.
Also interesting in this part of Comacchio is the fish-market (the Pescheria), with its open-air fish market trading on benches of stone and marble.
Nearby is the most beautiful bridge of the many to be found in Comacchio. The Trepponti bridge, built in brick and stone from Istria in 1634 by Luca Danesi (who is also responsible for the so-called Ponte degli Sbirri) and uses extraordinary architectural skill to link four waterways in a structure of great compositional harmony - there are five arches, meeting from opposite directions, under which the waterways of the city pass.
Returning to Piazza Maggiore, to the west you can see the Cathedral of Saint Cassiano, begun in the mid-17th Century, with one nave and several side chapels, and dedicated to the patron saint of the city.
Next to the cathedral are the magnificent bell tower, with a base of Istrian stone, and the 17th century Loggiato dei Cappuccini (Capuchin Portico), with more than 140 arches which continue to the Shrine of Saint Mary.
If you are looking to have a picnic in Comacchio travel along the Romea road to the nearby 9th century Pomposa Abbey. The abbey church has a basilica structure and was an important religious and cultural centre during the Italian Middle Ages.
Next to the basilica is the extraordinary and very tall bell tower dating from 1063 and with a series of mullioned and four-trefoils windows.
Selected places to visit near Comacchio, Italy
Ravenna (at 32 kilometres)
Ravenna is world famous because of the exceptional mosaics and several 6th century churches in the city.
See Ravenna guide.
Po Delta (at 42 kilometres)
The Po Valley is a large natural area that attracts a wide range of birdlife to its waterways and marshes.
See Po Delta guide.
Ferrara (at 47 kilometres)
The historic centre of Ferrara is important enough that it has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
See Ferrara guide.
Faenza (at 52 kilometres)
Well known for the International Museum of Ceramics, Faenza town is also interesting to visit.
See Faenza guide.
See the Emilia-Romagna guide for more travel ideas...