Green fields as far as the eye can see, wooden fishermen houses and blue skies mirrored in the water. The Po River Delta is a natural oasis of extraordinary beauty, famous all over the world for its suggestive landscapes and waters full of life. The perfect way to discover its treasures is to get around with local people that know all its secrets, like family Veronese that runs Osteria Arcadia. Famous for the exquisite traditional cuisine, they organize private, tailor-made boat tours to the best spots of the area such as “Sacca degli Scardovari” and Isola dei Gabbiani, a wild semi-deserted island, where you can relax as a modern Robinson Crusoe.
The boat tour starts with the visit to “Sacca degli Scardovari”, a lagoon formed by ancient rice fields flooded, that continuously witness the merge of fresh and salty water, giving life to an ideal habitat for shellfishes. A must-try is the “mussel of Scardovari D.O.P.” cultivated in braids immersed in water, according to a traditional process handed down from father to son, which is regulated by a Consortium since 2015, when the mussel awarded the title of Protected Designation of Origin. However, the queen of the Delta is the renowned pink oyster of Tarbouriech.
Thanks to an ingenious system developed by one of the most important oyster producers in France, Florent Tarbouriech, and a young local entrepreneur, Alessio Greguoldo, the oysters are bred in rows suspended over the water, alternating periods of immersion with periods of exposure to air, in order to simulate the Atlantic tides. Being used to the cold and impetuous seas of Northern Europe, the oysters find here so much protection that they grow up in just a year and a half, which is half the time they normally take. Kissed by the sun, they gain pink shades and a rich and fleshy pulp that releases all the freshness of the sea!
Sailing along thick reeds, our trip continues to the Isola dei Gabbiani for an aperitif at sunset, thanks to a delicious take-away basket prepared by Osteria Arcadia. It’s incredible how exciting is to discover a hidden beach facing the Adriatic sea, a private heaven on earth, surrounded by golden sands rich in shells and white woods smoothed by the sea.
On the way back to the village of Santa Giulia, brightened by the golden hour, is just natural the urge and wonder to finally get to taste the local fish, mussels, and oysters in the Osteria. Mrs. Adele Bertaggia, known as “Arcadia”, chef and landlady, knows and cooks local products better than anyone else, so much to have obtained several awards, such as the Slow Food snail or the popular victory in the 4 Restaurants television format. What a tasting session: pink oysters surprise for their freshness, the local “moeche”, small crabs, are a pleasant discovery, mussels and clams, extraordinarily pulpy, still perfumes of the sea, and the wild eel of Polesine is really crunchy.
The entire family shares the same passion: Arcadia works in the kitchen with her son Mauro, her daughter Pamela manages the dining room and the Bed and Breakfast with bicycle rental service, whilst her son-in-law Diego takes customers on tours with the typical local boat with a flat bottom, built by himself. Each member of the family promotes the Slow Tourism of the area with great love and, meeting them means jumping into a magical world. To bring a piece of this heaven back home with you, there is a “casolino” next to the Osteria, that is a small shop offering a fine selection of local products.
From May to June, the Osteria offers a menu called “Cozzeria” that is based on mussels only. The mussels are raised by Diego and the menu is enriched every year with new delicious recipes!
Via Luigi Longo, 29
45018 Santa Giulia, Rovigo
Tel. +39 0426 388334
Starters: 9 — 15 euro
First courses: 11 — 15 euro
Second courses: from 12 euro
Overall cost for a 2,5 hours boat tour (from 1 to 5 people): 80 euro
For further details on the itineraries or the B&B service, please contact the Osteria