The myth of an independent and autarchic Republic built among the bends of the great river
❝On a small island in the middle of the Po, between the 1940s and 1950s, a free State was proclaimed with its own laws, passports, coins and stamps. It was created by a small community of dreamers, at a time when a new form of tourism was emerging. A world suspended between imagination and reality, immersed in nature, where the river marked the rhythms of the days and the few inhabitants lived in peace, getting everything they needed to live out of the water. ❞
The slow flow of the river Po brings with it many stories, some are fantastical, born from the myths and legends of the ancient world and others are imaginative, because they are connected to the creativity and dreams of those who lived there or who visited it, treating it with love and respect. One of the most unique and fascinating stories in the Polesine area is that of professor Luigi Salvini, a world-famous Slavist who achieved his Rousseauian dream on an island that the great river formed at Panarella di Papozze, immediately after the stretch between the Po di Venezia and the Po di Goro. The scholar, in the 1940s and 1950s, established an autonomous state, the so-called "Tamisiana Repubblica di Bosgattìa". A fictitious coin called a çievaloro was also created. The Republic was initially frequented by friends of the linguist who wanted to spend the summer holidays in close contact with nature, without rules except those of respect and mutual solidarity. Later the site became the destination of numerous visitors, attracted by the uniqueness of this experience.
Professor Salvini found the two great loves of his life in the Delta: his wife and the beauty of a pristine land, which he decided to share with friends. And so the Panarella floodplain, with its wild and ever-changing charm, at the mercy of changes in the river, became the location of the utopian river state: a unique experience, told by the Slavist himself in his book Una tenda in riva al Po (A tent on the banks of the Po).
Those who came to the Republic of Bosgattia had to adapt to what nature offered in order to survive, devoting themselves to hunting and above all to fishing. In this regard, the term in dialect "Bosgattìa" could be misleading, because in the Polesano dialect "bosgato" means pig, but a clarification comes from Salvini himself when he writes: "If you ask the Bosgattians today why they allude to Tamiso or Bosgatto, they will explain to you with a hard face [...] how they no longer refer so much to that most useful and misunderstood of domestic animals, sacrificed to human greed and ingratitude, but rather to the sturgeon, the fattest and largest of river preys, which they pursue, in truth, without too much luck”.
In 2015, a small museum dedicated to Salvini's river Republic was inaugurated in Corte Milana, in the locality of Marcanta di Papozze. The exhibition is housed in the former sacristy of the small church dedicated to Saint Justina of Padua (according to tradition Saint Justina was born in this area), built in 1923 on the commission of the composer Nino Cattozzo, professor Salvini's father-in-law.
By train: the museum is situated about 6,5 km from Adria station, with good cycle-rail interchange facilities.
By car: coming from Adria go on to Bottrighe-Papozze-Ferrara; at Bottrighe crossing turn right following the signs to Bellombra, keeping the left next to “Crespino” canal for about 1km.
Coming from Rovigo or Ferrara along SP33 go on reaching Crespino and Papozze, then in Bottrighe turn left to Bellombra, then left again keeping the left next to “Crespino” canal for about 1km.
Opening times for visitors:
Azienda Agricola Corte Milana (Via Marcanta 62, Papozze; tel. 329 7177616).
Where to eat:
we suggest Trattoria Alla Rosa and Risto-pub e pizzera Brasserie (Via Curicchi 12, Bottrighe; tel. 0426 993054).
Where to stay:
we recommend B&B La Possionanza and B&B La Marcanta (Strada Marcanta 34, Papozze; tel. 348 3728181).
Tours and bike & boat rental:
for bike and horse trips and boat tours please refer to the website of Parco Delta del Po.
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