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The Gran Bosco della Mesola Nature Reserve, with an area of 1,058 hectares, represents one of the last and best-preserved remnants of the ancient lowland forests found until a few centuries ago along the Adriatic coast. Presumably originating in the Middle Ages on dune cordons formed by the Po di Goro and Po di Volano, the Mesola Woods is now the largest wooded area in the Ferrara area. The terrain is alluvial in origin and has an irregular pattern, a symptom of the presence of ancient dunes, which in places form water backwaters, with marsh vegetation. At one time the forest, being surrounded by marshes, was home to many varieties of birds, typical of wetlands; the drastic reduction in fauna, caused by drainage works, was curbed with the creation of a wetland within the forest, called Elciola, generally closed to the public where anatids and herons find refuge.
Visiting notes: The forest cannot be visited entirely, but authorized trails allow sightings of deer and fallow deer. It can be accessed on foot or by bicycle.
There is a 500-meter educational trail in the forest for the visually impaired, equipped with a handrail and Braille alphabet tables that help them understand the various plant and wildlife species in the oasis.
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