Conca del Bertazzolo – Governolo, Italy - Atlas Obscura

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Conca del Bertazzolo

Governolo, Italy

Nearly 800 years old, this river lock is now a public park with a former fortified island.  


In 1188, engineer Alberto Pitentino was commissioned to come up with a solution to the seasonal overflow of the lakes surrounding Manuta and make them stable. Water from the Minico and Po rivers created a system of lakes and swamps that was perfect for defensive purposes, but ran the risk of flooding the city. Today, his solution is still visible, though its form has changed in the intervening centuries.

Pitentino designed a complex system of dams and canals to be built all around the city. The hydrogeologic work arrived until the confluence of the Mincio in the Po river (a distance of 20 kilometers close to Governolo village). In that place, Pitentino built the first lock between the two rivers to maintain the water level in the lakes.

In 1608, engineer Gabriele Bertazzolo began construction work on a new plant, at the behest of the Duke of Mantua. The new works would better maintain the level of the lakes, and, in the event that the Po flooded, prevent its waters from flowing up the Mincio. Bertazzolo’s improvements were completed in 1618.

The 17th-century lock was in use until 1983, when the branch of Mincio’s river was buried. Nowadays the lock is at the end of a public park that lied on the old river bed and connects Governolo to the former island between two Mincio’s branches. The former island still hosts part of the Governolo’s castle, which was built in 1370.

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Also known as Conca San Leone

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