The Mincio Park is a protected area
established by the Region Lombardy in 1984, and it is situated in the province of Mantua along the river Mincio in a territory belonging to 13 municipalities. The river, from the lower Garda to the Po river, flows along 73 km crossing northwards the moraine hills and the plain, before flowing into the Po river. It is one of the first Parks established in Lombardy, and the management of the area was entrusted to an Authority composed by the coastal municipalities and by the Province of Mantua.
It safeguards and enhances a territory including also three Nature Reserves
and four Sites of the Natura 2000 European Network
. They are real caskets of biodiversity which are worth visiting and knowing: Castellaro Lagusello
is situated on the Moraine Hills in Monzambano, and its small heart-shaped lake overlooks a medieval village. The Mincio Valleys wetlands - of international importance according to the Ramsar convention - which are the widest inland wetlands in Italy, the Vallazza and Chiavica di Moro
wetlands are the perfect habitats for herons, little egrets, black-crowned night herons, Western Marsh-harriers and many other protected species.
The Park is also equipped with some visitor centers
: in Rivalta
, where an ancient country building overlooking a bend of the river houses the ethnographic museum of the river professions, and that by the Bertone
, a forest-garden made of centuries-old trees coming from all over the world, and nearby a center for the reintroduction of the white storks.
The park also carries out several actions for the enhancement of the territory. Among the environmental restorations, the most significant one is that regarding the lakes of Mantua, which made it possible to create - together with the principal town - the "peri-urban park
" which today surrounds the city and is a very visited destination all year round. Many afforestation projects give life to Lombardy's "regional ecological network", cycle- pedestrian lanes, parking areas, jetties, observation points, paths and routes linking the built-up areas with the river.
The river Mincio
, outlet river of the Garda Lake, originates from the Garda basin near Peschiera del Garda (VR), after a few kilometers it enters the Mantua territory, by Ponti sul Mincio, and it ends its flow in the Po river, by Sacchetta di Sustinente, after having covered 73 km.
During its flowing it receives water contributions coming from several water courses. The present appearance of the river Mincio is strongly influenced by the anthropic works which followed one another over the centuries to control the water course. In some short stretches of the river some natural features
are still visible, as well as the meander
directions typical of the plain rivers.
In the past the territory around Mantua was completely dominated by the water, and the whole territory from Rivalta up to the Po river was a swamp, from which only the higher areas emerged, where people actually settled. The area where Mantua is situated probably was like an "archipelago" consisting of small islands. Only in 1190 the hydraulic engineer Alberto Pitentino
started great hydraulic works - whose essential components still work - which made it possible the presence of the three lakes
originated by the river around the city of Mantua. Pitentino, according to some sources, also realized the project of the Governolo supporting system, which was planned to regulate the confluence of the Mincio into the Po river.
Fundamental for this purpose was the work by Gabriele Bertazzolo