Parco di San Colombano
It covers an area of about 730 hectares and it’s home to vast riparian forests, poplar groves, arable land, wild willow groves, sandbars, wetlands near old clay pits and “bugni.”
Parco San Colombano (San Colombano Park) covers an area of about 730 hectares in the township of Suzzara, in the floodplain overlooking the towns of Riva and Tabellano. The area is home to recently created and vast riparian forests, poplar groves, arable land, spontaneous willow groves, sandbars, wetlands near old clay pits and “bugni”; i.e. typical bodies of water originated by the breaking of an embankment during flood events. As part of the naturalistic requalification works carried out since 2000 by the Suzzara Municipality, more than 250,000 plants of the main native species of this area have been planted: white poplar, black poplar, white willow, field elm, oak, ash, frangula, viburnum, dogwood, elderberry, cornelian cherry, and many others.
Birds include the red and green woodpeckers, sparrow hawk, hobby, egret and night heron; reptiles include the grass snake and the whip snake; amphibians include the tree frog and the common and crested newts. In 1702 the area was the scene of the bloody Battle of Luzzara for the succession to the Spanish throne. Today, at the site of the church of the ancient village of Riva dedicated to the Irish saint Columbanus, lies the Memorial of Reconciliation; i.e. a megalithic monument that recalls the tradition of the stones circles of pre-Celtic Ireland.
The park also features an educational forest, a river dock, a large parking area, a rest stop, a green public space (freely accessible), and a system of easy bike and walking trails that allow visitors to discover the areas of greatest naturalistic interest. Access is free and allowed all year round, depending on river levels. San Colombano Park is connected to other protected areas of the Sistema Parchi dell’Oltrepò Mantovano (Oltrepò Mantovano Parks System) by the Ciclovia dei Parchi (Parks Cycleway). It also lies along the route of Eurovelo EV8 and of 2d cycleway in the Mantua province.