Certain quiet glimpses of Comacchio – one of the most important cities along the Po’s Delta, in the province of Ferrara – seem to be an ideal fit for the lyrical words of Herman Melville: “ Meditation and water are wedded for ever.”
The quotation is from “Moby Dick”, which according to Cesare Pavese – the famous writer who first translated the novel into Italian – was a masterpiece dominated by the presence of a “titanic and biblical sea”. Obviously, the brackish valleys in Emilia Romagna where the ancient Comacchio rises up have nothing to do with the endless horizons of the Pacific, sailed by Captain Ahab. But, as Melville wrote, we can see “the image of the ungraspable phantom of life”, which “is the key to it all”, “in all rivers and oceans.”
The water of the river Po and of the Adriatic sea is the fluid heart of two thousand years of history in Comacchio, nicknamed “Little Venice”. For centuries this rich marsh has given generation after generation of fishermen their livelihood, from Etruscan times to the present day.
Here meditation and water are still “wedded”. Melville was right.