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Po (river)

Po (river)
Old iron bridge over the Po River, Cremona, Lombardy
River information
OriginCottian Alps, Italy
MouthAdriatic Sea
Basin countriesItaly, Switzerland, France
Length652 km (405.1 mi) 682 km (423.8 mi) including Maira
Elevation2100 m (6889.8 ft) msl
Mouth elevation0
Discharge1540 m³/s
Basin area74000 km2 (28571.6 sqmi) tot.
70000 km2 (27027.2 sqmi) It.

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The Po ( , -itˈpɔ, ancient Ligurian: 'Bodincus' or 'Bodencus', ) is a river that flows either 652 km (405.1 mi) or 682 km (423.8 mi) considering the length of the Maira, a right bank tributary eastward across northern Italy, from a spring seeping from a stony hillside at Pian del Re, a flat place at the head of the Val Po under the northwest face of Monviso (in the Cottian Alps) through a delta projecting into the Adriatic Sea near Venice. It has a drainage area of 74,000 km2 in all, 70,000 in Italy, of which 41,000 is in montane environments and 29,000 on the plain. The Po is the longest river in Italy; at its widest point its width is 503 m (1650.3 ft). The Po extends along the 45th parallel north.

The river flows through many important Italian cities, including Turin (Torino), Piacenza and Ferrara. It is connected to Milan through a net of channels called navigli, which Leonardo da Vinci helped design. Near the end of its course, it creates a wide delta (with hundreds of small channels and five main ones, called Po di Maestra, Po della Pila, Po delle Tolle, Po di Gnocca and Po di Goro) at the southern part of which is Comacchio, an area famous for eels. The Po valley was the territory of the Roman Cisalpine Gaul, divided in Cispadane Gaul (South of the Po) and Transpadane Gaul (North of the Po).

The river is subject to heavy flooding. Consequently over half its length is controlled with argini, or dikes. The slope of the valley decreases from 0.35% in the west to 0.14% in the east, a low gradient. There are 450 standing lakes.

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