The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







This article is about the town. For the asteroid see 143 Adria.

Adria is a town in the province of Rovigo in the Veneto region of Northern Italy, situated between the mouths of the rivers Adige and Po. It is the seat of a diocese.

The Etruscan city of Atria (or Adria) underlies the modern city, three to four meters below the current level. Atria (or "Hat") gave its name at any early period to the Adriatic Sea, to which it was connected through channels. Atria and Spina were the Etruscan ports and depots for Felsina (Bologna).

The Etruscan-controlled area of the Po Valley was generally known as Padan Etruria. The Villanovan culture, named for an archaeological site at the village of Villanova, near Bologna (Etruscan Felsina), flourished in this area from the 10th century until as late as the 6th century.

Mass Celtic incursions into the Po valley resulted in friction between the Gauls and Etruscans, and also intermarriage, attested by epigraphic inscriptions where Etruscan and Celtic names appear together.

Pliny the Elder, a Roman author and fleet commander, wrote about a system of channels in Atria that was, "first made by the Tuscans [Etruscans], thus discharging the flow of the river across the marshes of the Atriani called the Seven Seas, with the famous harbor of the Tuscan town of Atria which formerly gave the name of Atriatic to the sea now called the Adriatic." Pliny's "Seven Seas" were interlinked coastal lagoons, separated from the open sea by sandspits and barrier islands. The Etruscans extended this natural inland waterway with new canals to extend the navigation possibilities of the tidal reaches of the Po all the way north to Atria. As late as the time of the emperor Vespasian, shallow draft galleys could still be rowed from Ravenna into the heart of Etruria.

Under Roman occupation the town lost importance to the former Greek colony Ravenna as the continued siltation of the Po delta carried the seafront farther to the east. The sea is now about 22 km from Adria.

The first exploration of Atria was carried out by Carlo Bocchi and published as Importanza di Adria la Veneta.

"Adria - (Acts 27:27; R.V., "the sea of Adria"), the Adriatic Sea, including in Paul's time the whole of the Mediterranean lying between Crete and Sicily. It is the modern Gulf of Venice, the Mare Superum of the Romans, as distinguished from the Mare Inferum or Tyrrhenian Sea."
"Its origin is not clear, but it was probably a Venetian (Illyrian) city, and not an Etruscan or Punic city. Already by the second half of the 5th century B.C. the rivers had accumulated so much silt that the city was no longer at the coast, and in the Roman Empire period a canal was excavated by Philistus."

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Last updated: 05-21-2005 04:48:40