Boats come back to Padua
Padua was once a city of waters. Unfortunately, during the twentieth century the floods and the decline of the water trades led to cover up most of the town waterways; in the 50's the apex of this rearrangement was the covering of the Naviglio Interno with its moorings and the Porte Contarine lock (the last witness of the river navigation in Padua), which still shows the past importance of these canals.
Luckily, in the 80's associations and people interested in the Paduan culture led to a rediscovery of this aspect of the town.
The first retrieval was the sixteenth century flight of stairs of Portello (also painted in a famous Canaletto's picture) before completely hidden by many layers of ground; then, the river bed and the dock of the fluvial harbour, unused since the 60's, have been brought back into use so now they can be used also by motorboats up to a hundred tons.
Gradually, since 1995 small boats, among which Burcio Nuova Maria, Padovanella, Burcio Antenore navigated the Piovego Canal; then, in the end of the 90's, bigger motorboats first appeared.
In March 2000 the restoration of Porta Contarine lock was completed and now, also the trachyte pier can be seen.
On the 21st March 2000 at 6.30p.m. the 50 tons motorboat Tiepolo, commanded by the Captain Antonio Dalla Riva, carrying up to 150 people, entered triumphantly the lock.
The boat arrived from Venice with 100 people including the President of the Cultural Association
"Amissi del Piovego" (Piovego friends) Elio Franzin who has always been in the front line to rediscover the Paduan waters, the assistan captain Bruno Cappellozza, the last of a great dynasty of Paduan fluvial captains, and Antonio Piccolo the operator of the association "Battelli del Brenta".
It was the first motor-ship with passengers to reach the heart of the city.
All important papers magnified the event.
A new era for the fluvial navigation had started.