January 2, 2023 – The first kilometers going up the course of the Po river wind peacefully. In the very first part I go up the Po di Levante, then I take the state road 309 in the direction of Ravenna and after a few kilometers I reach Taglio di Po. Here I cross the Po di Venezia (the one that mainly flows into Pila) and finally I can follow the course of the river. Keep in mind that the road on the right bank (the left one for me as I go up) in the first part is a cycle-pedestrian area, accessible to motor vehicles only for access to accommodation businesses. I drive a little bit of it (due to a sign not present on the road from which I access), before realizing my mistake and returning to the main road towards Mazzorno. Not even Google Maps warns me of the traffic restriction.
From here the Po is truly majestic and in this period the drought that hit it last summer is not perceived in any way: the water is abundant, even if dark and muddy. Combined with the gray climate, low mist, and humidity it creates a rather gloomy atmosphere, which however has its reason.
In line with the slow travel style I’ve chosen, I still travel a handful of kilometers: after four days I need to do camper service (especially emptying the toilet). I reach Mazzorno Destro, a fraction of Taglio di Po where, according to the guides, there is a free parking area. I find myself in a very small village, no more than 40 houses, many of which are abandoned. The rest area is exactly in the center, next to the church (closed for renovation) and in front of a tiny elementary school.
No shops, bars, or restaurants
There are five generously sized stalls, electricity for a fee (€2 per hour) and camper service with a load of drinking water (10 cents for every 10 liters). The space is shared with the small parking lot for residents. When I arrive, there is no one. In Mazzorno Destro there is no trace of shops, not even a little bar. People on the only street in the hamlet are not seen, but from the rest area you have direct access, about a hundred meters away, to the cycle path embankment. In the right season it is therefore an excellent base for those who want to get on their two wheels and go to discover the Veneto Regional Park of the Po Delta.
The area is quiet, excellent for someone like me who has to work, but both in the afternoon and in the evening I observe the scene in astonishment: meetings are obviously planned in the school and several cars arrive within a few minutes completely occupying the stalls and camper service area, without not even that someone had the good manners to ask me, since my presence was absolutely visible, if I needed to use the services. In short, the whole world is a country… It doesn’t matter whether you are in a frenetic big city or in the most remote of villages: respect for the rules and for others is secondary to one’s own comfort. And it’s not that the countryside lacks a place to park…
There is nothing else to see or do in Mazzorno Destro, except take advantage of the camper service. Unfortunately, when I decide to use it, I discover that the flush for the cassette toilet is completely clogged. And I do it in the worst possible way: emptying the box in a decisive way to find various sewage coming out in copious quantities from the mouth of the column. All that remains is to arm yourself with patience, lift the grate for the gray discharge, complete the emptying of the cassette, clean up all the disgust regurgitated by the system and affix a note with the words “WARNING: clogged drain“. I don’t know what the next camper will do after me, but I hope that the Municipality, when it comes to collect the electricity and drinking water payments, will fix the problem.
However, in the end all operations have been completed and I am ready to resume my exploration of the course of the great river.
To close a piece of information on the island of Albarella, which I mentioned in yesterday’s post as an interesting place to visit: I was told (thanks Giovanna and Alberto!) that the area is private, owned by a hotel company. Access is therefore allowed only to those who go to accommodation and recreational facilities or (booked) restaurants on the island. A sad Italian story…