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Life in the valleys


The organization of fishing in the Comacchio Valleys melts, from always, on the cases: sites of working activities and until few years ago accomodations of the Valleys inhabitants in the stays in valley. Hut built with poles and dressed again of vegetable material, called grisola, a set of swampy cane bundles, wrapped with the paviera (reed or carex fibre). Only from 17th century inhabitants started to build them in masonry and with more vain. They are characterized by a modest height and reduced doors and windows. Their function was double: 
1. Fishing stations: the inhabitant who played this activity stayed here. It was always present a fire - place for the heating and cooking the food, almost exclusively constituted by fish and polenta. 

Every house had generally a tabarra, a warehouse - laboratory for the building and maintenance of the fishing tools by and some handmade articles of current use, almost always characterized by objects in grisola, used for the lavorieri.
2. Ambush stations: they were often supplied with tower with sentry - box (like the Foce case), which was serving for the vigilance of the velley guards, against the illicit fishing, practised by the fiocinini (poach fishers which used harpoon). In addition to the cases there were the Cavane, that is cabins for the shelter of the boats.

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 The organization and the positioning of the cases were taking place on the basis of the subdivision of the four valley districts, of their extent, of the labour used in each one and the amount of fished for. In every quarter there was generally a principal case and a few minors. Today are visitable two ambush cases (Foce and Coccalino) and three fishing: Foce, place of business case of the Bettolino di Foce restaurant, the Serilla case, which was one of the biggest, supplied with tabarra and cavanna, and a less case, the Pegoraro. Five fishing stations and seven supervision houses are active at present.

The "Lavoriero"

The lavoriero is a very ancient tool, but still efficient and fundamental for the valley fishing, which allows to capture the eels separately from grey mullets and other fishes, during their migrations at sea, stimulated by the reproductive instinct. 
It is a handmade article formed by a series of communicating basins, to arrow tip form: a time was entirely built in grisole (swampy cane strips bound by paviera) and poles, while today is in cement and metallic grills. Anyway the system of capture is substantially 

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the same one as the past: beyond the numerous and dark legends bound to the place of reproduction of the eel (Sargasso Sea), it's sure that in a certain period of the year all the valley fishes feel the instinct to emigrate to sea and vice versa to go back to the valley. The lavoriero makes them converge in forced passages and captures them, at the entrance and in the exit, in two phases: in the first blockage, a wider stitch, all fishes stay got entangled, except the eel, which being thinner is able to go beyond it, but it is blocked to the second blockage, characterized by thicker stitches.Besides, a good valley inhabitant must know that the sexually ripened eel, in autumn, especially in the stormy nights and without moon ones, cannot avoid to go to the sea for the reproduction.

The Saltworks

Location: from the 309 Romea SS, coming from Comacchio, up to the Lido degli Estensi, you have to follow the little indication "Saline" (Saltworks). After you have coasted the embankment of the Logonovo Channel for little more than 1 km, you reach to the remains of the Red Tower. From here they are visible the saltworks, which extend themselves close to the Pegoraro case, to South - West of the Campo valley. They extend themselves for 600 hectares and they are articulated in thick plots of channels, mirrors of water, with sluices and plants of derivation of waters and a few cases cast off along the perimeter.
Since the most remote times the salt was extracted here and this activity was cause of several wars against Ravenna and Venice. The extraction of the salt was interrupted in 1984, not considering it any more as a remunerative activity. From that moment the zone became a brackish damp zone of remarkable naturalistic value, where many marsh birds nest and where, from a few years to this part, the rose flamingos stop too. 
In the Decantazione basins, without of water, the surface it is a salt crust, where, in the fractures, little crustaceans and insects developed. 
The Saltwork is property of the State. Its concession to the Comacchio Administration is under definition.

Comune di Comacchio

Parco del Delta del fiume  Po

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