Comacchio is a small town 90 kms south of Venice in the Po Delta. They trap eels here and I’ve arrived just too late for the annual eel festival where the local produce is offered in a multitude of ways. However, I manage to find out more about the eel fishing process in a small museum housed in a former fish factory.
The eels are first caught in V-shaped traps placed in the waters of the lagoons. Then they are transported to the factory in large wicker baskets before having their heads and tails removed. The bodies of the eels are speared onto long skewers and roasted over hot fires before being marinated in a mix of vinegar, salt and water. Finally the pickled eel is canned to be sold as a delicacy all over Italy.
I am rather surprised to find Sophia Loren in Comacchio. Not the 83 year world famous actress but the much younger unknown starlet. In 1955 she starred in the Italian movie “La Donna del Fiume” (The Woman of the River) which was shot on location in the village and has scenes of Sophia working in the fish factory which now serves as a museum. Comacchio is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the making of the film with a special exhibition in the Town Hall, featuring movie posters in several languages and black & white photos of Sophia having fun with the local children at the beautiful brick Trepponti bridge which spans the canals in the centre of the village.