Most people have now heard about Burano, Italy. But have you heard of Comacchio, Italy?
I discovered this town on my own by literally zooming into northern Italy on Google Maps. To my surprise, I came across a photo of this town which looked like a replica of the colorful town of Burano in Italy.
Despite the lack of information about no this place, I was determined to explore it. A local even told me it was not worth the trek and if I thought it was like Burano I’d be disappointed. I was almost swayed to not go but I had a gut feeling about this place.
And let me tell you, getting there was not easy. As this place had no public transport links, I had to pay for an expensive taxi to get there from the closest town, Ravenna. To me, it was well worth it.
So, I hopped on a taxi and embarked on a journey to uncover this hidden gem. After I arrived I was immediately struck by the beauty of this charming town.
Every building was painted in a different color, just like in Burano. Maybe not as brightly colored but I really saw the resemblance.
What made this place even more special was the fact that it was completely off the tourist radar. There were no crowds or queues, just the locals going about their daily lives. It was a true hidden gem that I felt lucky to have discovered. Join me in learning more about this quiet town in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy!
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How to Get to Comacchio
Getting to Comacchio is not very easy by public transport and you really need to rent a car to get here. That’s what makes it so off the tourist radar. The harder the town is to get to, the less tourists find their way there! Few buses ran to Comacchio and I’d really be worried to get stranded there if you did attempt public transport as there is not much around. To shop for the best prices across rental companies, I use Discover cars (check prices & book here).
Alternatively, you can take the train to Ravenna if you’re day-tripping from Bologna and take a taxi. This is extremely expensive though but if you’re sharing the ride with someone it could be a good option. I did just this and it cost me a hefty €120 round trip from Ravenna. The taxi driver also waited for me while I explored the town for 2 hours. It was nice he was there waiting and this charge covered the waiting time. If he hadn’t waited, I know I would have had a huge amount of trouble finding a taxi back to Ravenna unless it was pre-arranged.
🎥 Check out my Instagram video here on this stunning hidden town!
How long do you need to visit Comacchio?
This town of Comacchio is really small so if you just want to browse around, then 2 hours is plenty of time but if you’d like to dine there and take life as it is slowly, then you can definitely spend longer.
Comacchio is located in the Emilia-Romagna region and the province of Ferrara, near the eastern coast of Italy. The exact location is approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the city of Ferrara and about 90 kilometers (56 miles) northeast of Bologna, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region. It is situated in the Po Delta, an area renowned for its wetlands, lagoons, and the Po River.
Comacchio is known for its traditional eel fishing techniques, making it the capital of eel. Eel dishes, particularly the local specialty “anguilla marinata” (marinated eel), are prominent in the town’s culinary offerings. If you like eel (sadly I don’t!), then be sure to try the local cuisine here. For the first 2 weeks of October, there is an Eel Festival held here and all the local restaurants celebrate as a tradition.
Like the island of Burano in Venice, Comacchio has many colorful buildings and is often described as “Little Venice.” However, it’s worth noting each town has its own distinct architectural style and history.
The tradition of painting buildings in bright colors in Comacchio dates back many centuries. It is believed that the practice originated as a way to make the town more visually appealing and to showcase the wealth and prosperity of its inhabitants. The use of vibrant colors became a cultural tradition that has been maintained over time.
Things to Do in Comacchio
1. Visit the Trepponti and Canals
Ponte Trepponti, also known as the Trepponti Bridge, is an iconic landmark in Comacchio, Italy. It is a unique architectural structure that spans the Canale Maggiore, one of the main canals in the town.
The bridge has three ramps or staircases, hence its name “Trepponti,” which means “three bridges” in Italian. Each ramp of the bridge is supported by arches and columns, creating a distinctive appearance. Its construction dates back to the 17th century, and it has since become an enduring symbol of Comacchio.
From the bridge, you can enjoy the picturesque setting of Comacchio. The reflections of the colorful buildings on the calm waters beneath the bridge create a postcard-worthy moment.
2. Wander the Colorful Streets
You don’t really need a huge agenda in Comacchio as the best thing to do is to grab your camera and wander through the pastel-colored streets. This little town is really a photographer’s dream and the scenic canals surrounded by adorable buildings make it the perfect place to explore especially if you’re an Instagram fanatic.
3. Discover Museums and Cultural Sites
The Museo Delta Antico showcases artifacts and exhibits related to the region’s ancient civilizations. The Museo della Nave Romana displays the remains of a Roman ship found in the nearby waters. Additionally, the Manifattura dei Marinati illustrates the traditional eel fishing techniques of the area. There is also a beautiful clock tower in the town and it seems to be a popular meeting spot for locals.
4. Birdwatching in the Po Delta
Explore the natural beauty of the Po Delta Regional Park, located near Comacchio. Birdwatching is extremely popular here and can even be done with an organized tour. You’ll have the chance to observe the diverse bird species that inhabit the wetlands and lagoons. The area is a haven for nature lovers and photographers.
5. Eat Dinner on the Canal
In Comacchio, you must sample the renowned marinated eel and other traditional seafood dishes the town offers. The ambiance is really great at any of the restaurants along the canal. You can even eat in a boat like the picture above which is located at Locanda Trattoria. It is located near the clock tower and you can find local specialty dishes here.
6. Relax at the Beach
Comacchio is situated close to the Adriatic Sea, which offers access to beautiful sandy beaches. Spend a day lounging on the beach, swimming in the sea, or participating in water sports activities. The Lido di Spina and Lido degli Estensi are popular beach areas nearby.
Where to Stay
If you want to stay in Comacchio and really get a feel for the local culture, I’d recommend Villa Cavour. It is in the middle of all the pretty colorful buildings and you can book a room which overlooks the canal! (Check prices & book here).
However, you can really just day trip here from Bologna especially if you rent a car. I’d recommend staying in Bologna and here are some great hotel options in Bologna:
- Residenza Palazzo Marchesini – I stayed at this Airbnb and you can watch my IG video on it. It’s in an old palace with a massive terrace overlooking Bologna and homemade breakfast by the most wonderful host. Highly recommend. Book here on airbnb
- Scandellari Apartments Book here on booking.com
- Ay Home B&B Book here on booking.com
- Hotel Cavour Book here on booking.com
- Starhotels Excelsior Book here on booking.com
What do you think about Comacchio? Do you see any resemblance to Burano too? Let me know in the comments below!
For more reading, you may also like:
🎀 Burano, Italy Travel Guide
🚣 How to spend a weekend in Venice
🇮🇹 Hidden Gems in Italy
✨Indonesia’s Rainbow Village, Jodipan
💎 30 Best Hidden Gems in Europe
🌈 Most Colorful Places in the World
🐪 The Colorful Nubian Village in Egypt
📸 Most Beautiful Cities in Europe
👩 Solo Female Travel Guide to Italy
🇮🇹 For more travel inspo visit my Italy section!