LIPU Reserve

Isola Bianca (FE)

Tel. 0532 772077


Habitat and history

Although reliable documents about it haven't found yet, it seems certain that Isola Bianca was used during Estensi age (15-16 Century) as a summer entertainment place.

An archive research was conducted, which went back to 1857, to a notarial deed by doctor Eliseo Monti "Notaro in Ferrara" which showed that the island, known as Bonello, was firstly owned by "Camera Apostolica" and later by the noble family Massari from Ferrara.

Its position was in the middle of Po river in Lombardia and so it can be said that Isola Bianca, the White Island, is one of the most ancient islands along the Po river and this is one of the reason why the preservation of this environment is so important.

The main aim was environmental protection as well as the promotion of education. The reserve includes the island, and the surrounding high water beds, that seem to be there just to embrace and to protect it.

The uncommon environment, the need to use a boat to get to Isola Bianca (the boat is fully equipped to carry invalid chairs), guided tours along the designed paths, the "camouflaged" observation points and a hut in a panoramic position, the explanatory signs about the flora, and a visitors centre easily accessible to the handicapped make the island a very special and particularly interesting place.


76 species of birds have been recorded and observations are conducted throughout the year. The Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), chosen as a symbol for Isola Bianca, is resident in the reserve for the whole year. More than 300 nests, with 4 species of herons: Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) and Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides). The brightly coloured Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), whizzes over the shallow water, where the elegant Black-winged Stilt (Hymantopus hymantopus) walks proudly with its legs in the mire, surrounded by Greenshanks (Tringa nebularia), Curlew Sandpipers (Calidris ferruginea), while the voices of the Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) echo in the cane-brake.

Other wildlife

Among the most important trees: Oak tree (Quercus robur), White Willow (Salix alba), White Poplar (Populus alba), Locust tree (Robinia pseudacacia), Mulberry tree (Morus alba) and Elm (Ulmus minor). The most common shrubs are: Black Elder (Sambucus nigra), Crab Grass (Cornus sanguinea), Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) and Blackberry bush (Robus fruticosus), with its tasty berries appreciated both by birds and children. Often shrubs and trees have lianas on themselves, such as Hop (Humulus lupulus), well known ingredient for beer, Bryony (Bryonia dioica), Bearbine (Calystegia sepium) with its wide white flowers, and Wisteria (Apios americana).
Today Isola Bianca belongs to the State, and, through a determined legal battle to prevent its deforestation, LIPU gained the responsibility of the area, to manage it in partnership with Ferrara Municipality and District.


The LIPU office in Ferrara is at via Porta Catena 118, tel. 0532.772077. Visits to the reserve may be booked through the office giving at least 3 hours notice. In the spring, during the breeding season, visits are not permitted. It is preferred that visits are planned to be on holidays but, with prior agreement they may also be made on working days.
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