The Po

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A captivating journey along the iconic River Po and through Italian history, society and culture. The River Po is the longest river in Italy, travelling for 650 kilometres from its source in the Alps across the entire width of the peninsula until it reaches the Adriatic Sea in the east. Flowing through 13 provinces and 180 local councils, it is a part of the national psyche, as iconic to Italy as the Thames is to England or the Mississippi to the USA. This mighty river creates a formidable barrier and its banks have witnessed not only Italian history - the battle of Ticinus between Hannibal and Scipio, the Battle of the Po in 1431, Operation Grapeshot in 1945 - but also the clash of natural and human history. At the Po's delta is an astonishing nature reserve: a wetland swamp of 380 square kilometres and 450 different lakes. Tobias Jones travels the length of the river gathering its stories.