Wetlands of the Venetian Lagoon and Po Delta, Italy45.4N 12.3E
The Venetian Lagoon (center left) appears green in this image of northern Italy. The lagoon is the enclosed bay of the Adriatic Sea in which the city of Venice is situated. It is the largest wetland in the Mediterranean Basin.
The lagoon stretches from the River Sile in the north to the Brenta in the south, with a surface area of around 550 km². It is around 8% land, including Venice itself and many smaller islands. About 11% is permanently covered by open water, or canal, as the network of dredged channels are called, while around 80% consists of mud flats, tidal shallows and salt marshes.
Another important area of wetlands is visible to the south: the delta of the River Po. Much of the delta is a protected park, with 53,653 ha (132,580 acres) containing wetlands, forest, dunes and salt pans. It has a high biodiversity, with 1000-1100 plant species and 374 vertebrate species, of which 300 are birds.