The Po and its territories are a compendium of historical, artistic, literary values.
The history of Italy and the relationships between its people have been conditioned until recently by the opportunities and barriers that the river offered. Art has flourished over the centuries in the cities that gravitate directly (such as Turin, Piacenza, Cremona, Ferrara) or through primary tributaries (such as Mantua, Parma and Pavia). The braid of the villages that overlook it houses abbeys, churches and other monuments of great historical importance.
Gianni Brera, in his “Invectiva ad Patrem Padum” (1963), boasted of having the Po as his father while recognizing its traitorous character and glory of having received the title of “knight of the Po” after Zavattini and Bacchelli. The saga of Don Camillo and Peppone who left us Guareschi takes place on the banks of the Po. Gianni Celati, with Narratori delle pianure (1985) and Verso la foce (1989) and Paolo Rumiz on numerous occasions have made it the object of a research on the relationship between the river as a living entity and the people who inhabit it, walk along it and cross it. The Po has inspired directors such as Michelangelo Antonioni, Cesare Zavattini, Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Alberto Lattuada, Mario Soldati, up to Ermanno Olmi who set his last film.
The cultural heritage deposited in the river landscapes is represented in a series of shared narrations and images (by painting, cinema, photography and literature). At the same time it is continuously modified by unpredictable pressures: the new multi-ethnic dimension of the community (with 18,6% of foreign residents, Piacenza is the city with the highest number of immigrants in Emilia Romagna); the new “demand for nature” from urban populations; the recent transformations of the river landscape as a result of natural processes (invasive alien species).