In the province of Ferrara, the name of Mesola (from the Latin "middle isle") clearly indicates an explicit reference to the ancient geographic location of the original settlement, where, until the X century, the territory of Mesola was still occupied by the sea and only after the advance of the coastline, favored by debris carried by the Po delta, a tongue of land gradually formed.
Under the Este rulers of Ferrara, Mesola flourished economically, reinforced by the construction of the port of Alcina, of an imposing castle and the land reclamation from the waters of the river. After the death of Alfonso II d'Este, who left no direct heirs, the territory was annexed to the Papal State. The castle and the fief remained under the domain of the Este until 1771, when they passed to the House of Austria, in dowry to Beatrice d'Este and her husband, Archduke Ferdinand Karl of Austria.
Sites of Interest:
- the Estense Castle, built in 1578 at the behest of Duke Alfonso II d'Este. It features four massive towers, crenellated walls, large windows, that make of the Castle, a structure somewhere between a fortress and a luxury apartment or "Delizia" (delight), protected by nine miles of walls and surrounded by a forest for hunting. It now houses the public Environmental Education Center, the Library and the Museum of the Deer;
- Torre Abate, one of the most important examples of the history of land reclamation that affected this part of the territory of Ferrara. It was built in 1580 and is part of the great reclamation works undertaken by the Este family. In the XVII century, exhausted its function as a hydraulic river lock, it was used as a watchtower;
- the Parish Church, that features a single nave plan, with a large choir and a wide presbytery, decorated with paintings of the XVIII century. Here is also preserved a pipe organ, designed by Filippo Fedeli (1795);
- the Nature Reserve, located in the Po Delta Park and covers an area of 1058 hectares of the last and best preserved lowland forests, memory of the ancient forests that, until not long ago, covered this entire part of the Adriatic coast;
- the Grove of Santa Giustina, at short distance from the Este Castle, a remnant of the eastern part of the estate, which extends for about 4km, like a thin line, from the Po of Goro to Torre Abate;
- the Fossil Dunes of Massenzatica, located at a few miles from Mesola. It is the most important example of a Pre-Etruscan dune system and represents the last relic of a geo-morphological structure that characterized the landscape, in those ancient times, in the Lower Po Plain.