Polesine Camerini Power Station – Porto Tolle, Italy - Atlas Obscura
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Polesine Camerini Power Station

Porto Tolle, Italy

The chimney of a shuttered power station in the Po Delta is the second-tallest structure in Italy.  

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The Po River ends its long journey through northern Italy in a large delta, mostly located in the province of Rovigo. The area formed just in the last few centuries from sediment brought by the river, and it is now sparsely populated and protected as an interregional park.

So it may seem surprising that a large power station was built in the 1980s near the very tip of the delta, on the Po della Pila branch of the river, near the hamlets of Pila and Polesine Camerini. The power station is officially called Porto Tolle Power Station, from the name of the municipality it is in, but it is more commonly known as the Polesine Camerini Power Station. 

It was for a time one of the most important power plants in all of Italy, and even Europe, producing up to 8 percent of the electrical power required by the country. Always a controversial site—due to concerns over pollution in the fragile environment, it was the subject of a plan to convert it from fuel oil to nuclear, but the plan was halted in 2011, when the country voted against nuclear power in a national referendum. Due to changes in the organization of power stations in Italy, it closed down in 2015. A recent project may transform it into a holiday village.

The main feature of the power station is its tall chimney. Made up of four different ducts, it is 830 feet tall (250 meters), which makes it the second-tallest structure in Italy, beating every skyscraper and behind only a radio transmitter in Sicily.