The story of my family
A story of ancient origins
This is a story which dates back to a very long time and has been passed down from one generation to the other. In 1926 news reported the presence of a very fast trade lugger called “Staffetta” featuring lug sails and a 24 HP Deutz engine. Traditionally speaking, in my grandmother (nonna Ofelia) the fishermen of the family were called “trattaruoli”, as they were fishing with standard seiners-like fishnets. These nets were several hundred meters long and were hand pulled to the seashore mostly from dusk till dawn. On my grandfather Advo’s side, people were used to sail to Istria and the Mediterranean Sea on cargo ships but also on distant water fleets.
Advo’s father, Grado, was born in 1904. Until the World War I, fishing was not that developed at Porto Garibaldi and because of this, the fishermen were used to sail on cargo boats which transported wheat, rocks or wood from Istria. After the war, Ravenna played a more important role in the maritime transportation sector than Porto Garibaldi and at the former the first sailing boats started to made landfall.
Grado bought the first small motor launch with an 8 Hp Deuchevert engine. Advo kept on working on cargo ships until 1956, when his last trip brought him to Helsinky on a ship loaded with coal and wood. After this trip and having gained many years of sailing experience, he started to focus only on fishing. He then was on boarded on a 14,5 meter-long fishing boat called “Al crucal” (the seagull) where fishing was carried out by using rake trawls with depressor.
In the ’70s, Angelo, Advo’s son, was on boarded together with Giovannino and Grado on the Spiga. It was a 14-meter long fishing boat with an 80 Hp Arona engine and an aft cabin used for professional mackerel fishing with hooks. This event would change the future and business-related activities of our family. The departure time for the fishing hunt was 4 o’clock in the morning, and together with other 20 fishing boats, which were doing the same job, they would reach the fishing area. Once arrived there, two bags of baits containing 25-30 boxes of fish food would be thrown at the sea and the boat would be anchored crosswise.
In those days the togna, a simple handline, was the common fishing tool and during those trips the first “foreigners” from the city got hosted on board for a fishing trip into the open sea.
One day, at the harbour, there were three fishermen with their fishing rods, in other words three fishing sportsmen. They asked whether they could join the trip and their presence started to grow increasingly time after time during the mackerel fishing hunts. At the beginning, most of the fishes fished by the tourists were left to the crew members as they could only keep a small amount of them. The fishing sportsmen presence became a great advantage for the crew, as a bigger quantity of fish could be eventually fished. Consequently, every fishing boat began to compete with each other to on board as many fishing sportsmen as possible. Over some time, also the transportation conditions changed and the fishing sportsmen started to pay a small fee while being allowed to keep more than half of the fished fishes.
Checco Bellini, a visionary seaman, was the first one to fully focus on the game fishing business. He bought a 22-meter-long tug boat called Furia only for this purpose and his commitment became a source of inspiration for Angelo who lived just a few meters away from his home.
In the ‘80s, Angelo understood the potential of maritime tourism and started to organise the very first game fishing activities while in summertime the first trips to the Po’s delta began to be scheduled.
The grandfather Advo, being used to offshore navigations and to sail for many weeks in a row, had a hard time settling down to game fishing with tourists. However, once he retired, he accepted to do that (and much more too!) for the future of his sons and grandsons.
Still today, Angelo is carrying out game fishing activities. At the beginning of the 80’s, this sector experienced a significant development which boosted the harbour’s economy consequently. During those years, in Porto Garibaldi there were some 20 game fishing boats. In 2007 Nicola resumes the excursion business of his father.