MARSH MUSEUM OF ARGENTA and the Val Campotto Oasis


in short

“ Marsh Museum” documents the evolution of the natural environment and the intervention of man in an area dominated by water; is situated at the entrance to the Val Campotto Oasis. It’s a humid area, equipped with birdwatching posts, the area is rich with animal life and rare vegetable species.
Museo delle Valli
© Comune di Argenta
Logo: MARSH MUSEUM OF ARGENTA and the Val Campotto Oasis

MARSH MUSEUM OF ARGENTA and the Val Campotto Oasis

in detail

The “ Marsh Museum of Argenta” in the Casino di Campotto, is the organizational centre of the Argenta Ecomuseum and provides information, access to facilities and accepts bookings. Was rescructuring in the 2007; documents the evolution of the natural environment and the intervention of man in an area dominated by water; is situated at the entrance to the Val Campotto Oasis.
Built between the end of the 18th and the beginning of the l9th century, the structure that houses the museum was originally a farmhouse of three floors. Yet, what is nowadays considered the ground floor is actually the former building’s first floor, since the real ground floor has been buried as a result of land reclamation that lifted up the level of soil. The two extremi­ties of the present ground floor used to function as residence and animals’ shelter, whereas the upper floor was used for the storage and working of marsh-herbs.

The museum is a historical and natural documentation centre. It houses both the organizational and visiting centre ot the Ecomuseum of Argenta, as well as the centre of the Regional Park of the river Po Delta for all that con­cerns services, information, reservations and guided visits, It also performs such tasks as tourist orientation around the area. Thanks to its peculiar communicative and educational systems, in 1992 it has been awarded the prize of “European Museum of the year” by the European Commitee. Outside there is situated the educational little lake, which puts together and reflects all the different elements of the surrounding natural environment. Furthermore, in the museum’s courtyard you can find a parking area as well as a sort of former shooting-box, where lectures and seminars are held to discuss certain topics in depth through the teach-ing instruments that the museum puts at the visitors’ disposal. Finally, at the end of this, a coffee break is also arranged.

The Val Campotto Oasis. The natural oasis of argenta Marshes is a station of the Po River delta park. It’s a humid area of international relevance, extending on about 1624 hectares. Equipped with birdwatching posts, the area is rich with animal life and rare vegetable species.

The area of the Oasis occupies a surface of about 1624 hectares. It includes, not only the agricultural fields, but also the wet lands which were not reclaimed that is Cassa Campotto-Bassarone , Valle Santa and the Traversante, a strip of higrophilous woods of 150 hectares. Until the sixties this area was given over to hunting, but the increasing reduction of wet lands made it necessary to preserve these enviroments and protect both their fauna and their flora. On the initiative of the Municipality of Argenta, the Ferrara Provincial Administration and the Renana Land Reclamation Consortium, proprietary and administrative authority, in August 1977 the “Fauna and flora preservation and protection oasis” which was given the name of “Valli of Argenta and Marmorta’, was founded. As it is completely included in the territory of Campotto, it is better knows as “Oasis of Campotto”. In 1976 Valle Santa and Cassa Campotto­-Bassarone were included in the list of the areas subject to the Ramsar Convention. In 1988 (L.R. n. 27/88) the Regional Park of the Po Delta was opened, and the area of the Oasis became part of it under the name of: “Stazione n° 6: Campotto di Argenta”. The Campotto Oasis represents an important rest area for migratory birds. A station for the capture and ringing of wild birds is based in the oasis, where experts meet periodically to check the routes of migratory flocks of birds.
Campotto and the Casino
The warp brought by the stream caused the partial silting-up of this area, so that between the eighteenth and the nineteenth century the construction of the building was conceivable. The same area would subsequently enter within the ambit of the “Valli” when the Emergency Container of the Idice and Quaderna was built.

From 1766 to 1772, a canalization of the Sillaro and of the canals Garda Menata into the Reno-Primaro at S.Biagio brought about the drying up of the Valli of the Mattiola, which from the Quaderna stream spread as far as Imola and beyond. In these areas, where pasturage and cereal production were the maim activities, the owners of the land, the Marquises Ercolani had built a little paesant community with reed houses on a site called Campotto. The toponym Campptto could derive from little field among the bogs.

Although record on this subject are not very explicit, the Casino was presumably built as a farmhouse by the brother Simonetti, between the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

In 1849 it was bought by General Viscount Talon Dionigi. Between the edifice of the Casino and Cardinala Road, there was a canal called Scaricabarche (literally the Unload boats), which used to connect the settlement with the marshes and rice fields. The farmers loaded the boats with rice and navigated until they reached the barn-yard of the Casino where the crop was unloaded, processed sent to its destination. The carts passed under the ground floor arcades, at present buried under the silting-up deposit, and reached the road through a bridge over the Scaricabarche. in front of the eight arcades of ground floor lay a wide stone-paved farmyard – also buried. the ground floor and the farmyard opposite were flooded during inundations , so that only the upper floor were habitable.

The first floor - nowadays the ground floor - , was divided into different sections. The southern side partially opened into a colonnade, and corresponds with the present entry to the museum: it was here that most likely fen grass artefacts were made, and at the farthest corners lived the farmer. the northern side of the first floor was a cowshed, as the typical structure of the northern halls still testifies. The kind of bricks used for the second floor – nowadays the first floor), which differ from the material used for the second floor, leads us to infer that this level of the edifice was built later on, probably around 1850. This area was used as a storehouse for processed rice. A second building, detached from this edifice and occupied by the family Talon during hunting season, was demolished after the second world war. Two floors (stable and dwelling) composed it.

At present the Casino belongs to the Renana Reclamation Consortium and it is the seat of the historical- naturalistic Documentation Center of the Valli of Argenta. This museum presents a display of the fauna and the flora of the area. In 1992 the museum was awarded the Council of Europe prize to the best museum of the year.
The museum on google maps:


Visitor entrance

Campotto and the Casino
Casino di Campotto, via Cardinala, 1
44011 Argenta
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Opening Times

09:30 - 18:00
09:30 - 18:00
09:30 - 18:00
09:30 - 18:00
09:30 - 18:00
09:30 - 18:00
Chiuso dalle 13:00 alle 15:30
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