Po (river)

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Po
LocationPoRiver.PNG
The Po river
Origin Cottian Alps, Italy
Mouth Adriatic Sea
Basin countries Italy, Switzerland, France
Length 652 km
Source elevation 2022
Mouth elevation 0
Avg. discharge 1540 m³/s
Basin area 71,000 km²

The Po (Latin: Padus, Italian: Po, ancient "Eridanus") is a river that flows 652 kilometers (405 miles) eastward across northern Italy, from Monviso (in the Cottian Alps) to the Adriatic Sea near Venice. It has a drainage area of 71,000 km² and is the longest river in Italy.

It goes through many important Italian towns, including Turin (Torino) and (indirectly) Milan (Milano), in Lombardy. It is connected to Milan through a net of channels called navigli, which Leonardo da Vinci helped design. Near the end of its course, it creates a wide delta (with hundreds of small channels and five main ones, called Po di Maestra, Po della Pila, Po delle Tolle, Po di Gnocca and Po di Goro) at the southern part of which is Comacchio, an area famous for eels. The Po valley corresponds to the Roman Cisalpine Gaul, divided in Cispadane Gaul (South of the Po) and Transpadane Gaul (North of the Po).

The vast valley around the Po is called Pianura Padana and is so efficiently connected by the river that the whole valley became the main industrial area of the country. This river is subject to the authority of a special authority, the Magistrato delle Acque.

Roman poets sometimes referred to the Po river as Eridanus, which also has other meanings.

The main products of the farms around the river are cereals.

In 2005, water from the Po was found to contain "staggering" amounts of benzoylecgonine, which is excreted by cocaine users in urine. Based on these figures, cocaine consumption was estimated to be about 4 kg daily, or 27 doses per day per thousand young adults in areas that feed into the river—a number nearly three times higher than previous estimates.[1]

The Po river view from Torino.

Dry up[change | edit source]

On May 4th, 2007 The river dried up in spots completely. Italy declared a state of emergency in the northern and central regions. The Alps had reduced snowfall the previous winter. It was Italy's warmest winter in 200 years.[source?] This may be related to Global Warming.[source?] There was some discussion about filling the river up by diverting water flows from large lakes and reservoirs in the Alps.

Tributaries[change | edit source]

Tributaries include (R from the right side, L from the left, looking downstream):

References[change | edit source]

Saltini Antonio, Dove l'uomo separò la terra dalle acque. Storia delle bonifiche in Emilia Romagna, Diabasis, Reggio Emilia 2004