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Navigating the Adda through time: Leonardo's Ferry


It is a beautiful August afternoon, warm but not excessively muggy. We decide to go to Imbersago:? We haven't been there for a while. We leave the car in the large uphill parking near the river, right next to the bar and near the pier. We were there in the fall, for a short ride, but above all to try the Leonardo and bizarre ferry that you can? find only here.
I remembered a place immersed in shades? warm in the autumn months, where placid ducks enjoyed the calm of the still not too cold waters of the Adda river. Instead we arrive and a riot of green and wild flowers welcomes us: different shades? they mix with crackling spots of yellow, pink and white.
Delightful minute butterflies flit here and there, bringing touches of indigo into the foliage. Small and large dragonflies chase each other in a sort of very fast dance. We are very impressed by some of them with an intense metallic blue color and with wings so transparent and fast as to look like alien flying sticks. Large swans swim leisurely in the distance, small black white-headed birds happily communicate with their own kind while others dive headfirst. in the emerald waters of the river.

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We cover a long stretch of the cycle and pedestrian path. We walk immersed in the quiet: birds move lightly on the water conversing with each other, lizards move fast hidden among the leaves, insects buzz near the flowers. The water flows slowly. The foliage creates the right refreshment that makes quiet strolling very pleasant.
It is a type of excursion truly suitable for everyone, except for very young children. In addition to getting tired of walking quickly for obvious reasons, also parents with a baby carrier? they would find themselves decidedly uncomfortable. In the first place for the low branches which would risk injuring the baby; the second reason concerns the type of ground to be faced with a bundle of a few kg on the shoulders. The soil, in fact,? flat but humid in many places. There are often muddy puddles and you have to go right next to the embankment. For this reason I highly recommend trainers and wear comfortable clothes.
Along the river isn't it? a hat is required, as practically everything is in the shade. Better, however, to take it with you? for a possible relaxing break in a sunny clearing. Is it good to have with s? water because, apart from the bar, you will not find any other refreshment points for a very long stretch. If you have a dog, and? well used to going on a leash in wooded areas where? absolutely noticeable the presence of other animals, bring it here. Sar? a beautiful relaxing walk for both.
I mentioned earlier the evident presence of animals. We too have had concrete proof. The Adda hosts a large community? of which we perceive only bubbles of air that rise to the surface and small groups of small fish that happily splash around near the shore. Suddenly a delightful surprise: a red-headed bird enjoys peace in its nest on the water. Consulting one of the information boards along the path, we deduce that it is a great grebe.
A little more? forward another, but different. We cannot, however, understand what kind of bird it is. Damn, what a pity: I'm a little too far! Okay, will I still try? Okay, the pictures don't do it justice, but I did my best.
Isn't it actually about? of meetings then cos? random, given the strong presence of avian fauna living in the area. How can you also see from the information boards placed along the route here? in fact it is quite easy to admire mute swans, herons, grebes, different types of small birds such as reed warbler and great tit, finches and mallards. Local fauna (poultry, terrestrial and aquatic)? really rich and also includes protected species, such as the marsh harrier, the tufted duck, the black kite, the agile frog, the pigo and the kingfisher. Various types of nocturnal birds also live along the river and in the woods, such as owls and owls. For obvious reasons? definitely more? difficult to admire its beauty.
We continue to walk quietly in a picturesque place, interrupted only by cyclists who try to pass, given the narrow width of the dirt path, and in some places very muddy, directly overlooking the river. Surely their quick but silent presence will not allow us? to spot some fox, squirrel, woodpecker, hedgehog, small rodent or wild rabbit that lives in these woods.
After a good hour we decide to reverse the route and go back to be able to take the ferry and go to the other side. But this is not? any ferry. What you will find exists only here! You got it right. And it will be? an experience out of time. Leonardo's Ferry?, In fact, a particular type of hand ferry that takes its name from its alleged inventor: the brilliant Leonardo da Vinci. The only one still working today joins the docks of Imbersago (Lecco) and Villa d'Adda (Bergamo). Actually? there is no certainty that Leonardo was the real creator of this means of transport, but certainly studies? the project for a long time while he was working for Ludovico il Moro, lord of Milan. Draw a ferry identical to the one existing today in Imbersago. The studies were carried out by the inventor during his stay in Vaprio d'Adda and the drawing, dated 1513,? it was included in the Windsor Code and is now kept in the castle of the same name in England. But how exactly does it work?
Between the two banks of the river there? a steel cable to which? freed the ferry. The latter derives its movement from the current of the river, making the use of a motor totally useless. The model still in operation allows you to carry up to 100 passengers and 5 cars. It is operated by a single person: the operator operates on a rudder to orient the ferry while, with the use of an iron stick, he acts on the steel cable giving the initial thrust. As soon as the two hulls are in an oblique position, the current allows them to be crossed.
We get on the ferry, paying the small fee required.
Does he treat her? really very short, but the price? derisory: passerby 0,50 Euro; car 2,00; bike or motorbike 1,00; dog 0,50 Euro.
In this crossing there are only us and three other people.
In a few minutes of pleasant and light navigation (and if I say that I suffer heavily from seasickness even from floating docks you can trust!) We land on the other side of the Adda.
We walk for a while but the sky begins to darken and become more and more? threatening.
So we decide to go back to the ferry and see it moving placidly on the river, once again, in a sort of timeless comings and goings? ? a small and incredible experience, unique in its kind and unrepeatable elsewhere.
We resume this bizarre means of transport that came out of a space-time hole and, together with other people and a dog, we return to the Imbersago shore.
Let's have a coffee? at the bar here, just a stone's throw from the pier. A little tip: in the middle of autumn they make an excellent semifreddo cup with chestnuts, but unfortunately not? season?

How to reach us
- Cycle path from Imbersago to Lecco along the Adda river - starts immediately after the landing stage of the Leonardo ferry, in front of the bar / ice cream parlor
- Leonardo da Vinci ferry: From April to September: Mon-Fri 8: 00/19: 00; Sat-Sun 8: 30/19: 00 - From October to March: Mon / Fri 8: 00/17: 00; Sat / Sun 9: 00/17: 00
- "Al Porto" bar / ice cream parlor: Address: Via Adda, 31, 23898 Imbersago (LC) - right in front of the landing stage - Telephone: 039 992 0176
- Free parking
- Information on the fauna present along the Adda river: http://www.badger.it/carlo/ref/papers/Libretto_Fauna.pdf





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