The history of Porto Garibaldi
The village of Porto Garibaldi was originally called Magnavacca. This name comes from the Latin “Magnum vacuum”, which means big void space because of the peculiarities of its landscape: it’s an area slightly above the sea level, with wide surfaces covered by the swampy waters of the valleys.
Magnavacca references can be found for the first time in 1133 in a document where members of the House of Dukes Deusbedit located in Ravenna partially donated and partially sold to the rectory of Cella Volania some properties whose extension reached Magnavacca’s territory.
The history, development and identity of the village have always been connected with the harbour and its strategic position, which eventually lead this fishermen’s village to some historical glorious and disastrous events. During World War II almost every “physical” and “noticeable” evidence has been completely destroyed: the church of Beata Vergine, the glamorous Este’s palace called Palazzo delle Casette, Villa Bonnet Pinza, the salt stocks and many other historical buildings have been torn down by the bombings and today there’s nothing left apart from the written texts and images.
There are a lot of evidence reporting good things about the village and its population, such as the testimony of Papa Clemente VIII, who already in 1598 enjoyed its beautiful places and the special welcome of its residents.
In 1849 Magnavacca hosted the hero of the two worlds Giuseppe Garibaldi, who from there began his mission to unify the country. The Ugo Bassi, Nino Bonnet and Livraghi streets are named after the compatriots who supported and joined him in the Italian unification.
In 1944, even though the armistice had been signed and the hostilities against British and American soldiers had been ceased more than one year before, the German troops stationed in Porto Garibaldi and converted the territory in an impressing defensive line. For this reason, on July of the same year and during the spring of 1945 the village was extensively bombarded and completely destroyed.
My grandparents met each other while they were “displaced” in the countryside near S. Giuseppe and they say that when the war was over, they couldn’t tell the location of their house among the rubble as well as that of many other historical buildings because of the bombings.
As peace was restored, from the following decades till our days Porto Garibaldi experienced a great development. The technological and mechanical news lead to the empowerment of the fishing fleet which made “Magnavacca”, once again, one of the most significant harbours of the Adriatic Sea. At the same time, the touristic sector has also been consistently enhanced and during the second half of ‘900 the first settlements in the northern and southern parts of the river started to appear. Those territories had never seen the presence of human kind before.
From this moment onwards we can start talking about the seven Comacchio’s lidos that we know now!