Sophia Loren and the Comacchio Eels

DSCF6748Comacchio 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.


DSCF6751The 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.


DSCF6738I 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.




4 thoughts on “Sophia Loren and the Comacchio Eels

    1. A Nomad Post author

      I did go to the weekly market but unfortunately it seemed to be just clothes, accessories and hardware. No fresh food in sight. I didn’t find a fish market but perhaps they were all too tired after the week long eel festival!

  1. Julian

    Don’t worry that you missed the eel festival – the place is packed and prices are higher and the eel-based menus didn’t persuade me to order it the next time I see it.
    On the other hand I found Comacchio an unexpected delight and well worth a visit. Did you spot the wooden ducks floating in the canals?
    I hope they let Trixie on the cable ferry just south of the Comacchio Lagoon on your way to Ravenna.

    1. A Nomad Post author

      I’ve had eel a few times before & while it’s an experience I enjoyed I don’t feel disappointed that I missed the eel tasting in Comacchio. I didn’t find a chain ferry. Used the main coast road which was very busy with lorries.


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