One of Italy’s most renowned fly fishing haunts is Mazzoni Park in Middoria, more than 150 miles north of Venice. Mazzoni is one of the most historic of Italy’s ancient towns, having been conquered in 61 BC by Carthaginians, whereupon the town became the focal point of Carthaginian fishing industry. Little is known of the people who live there today, other than that they are devoutly devout, according to an informative brochure. There is no value added with this brochure, but information on Mazzoni Park and what to do there can be had on the Internet.
I spent an enjoyable Sunday in the park this past winter, and realized that, as in Florida, it was best to arrange charter fishing at Mazzoni with a well-known operator. A leader with a convertible offered to take us and a friend to enjoy a lunch of grilled sardines and fresh spring fennel salad. This was the final day of a five-day Rome tour of whitewater whitewater rafting and waterfalls. We enjoyed several days of river racing, a sport that demands all the skills from anglers, from floating in jet boats while on deck, to navigating small, float-line boats. We also had opportunities to fish from a kayak and tackle a floating pontoon boat while trolling flies. Once, after riding in an eight-person raft, on one occasion, we found ourselves on a mooring above a waterfall that had not yet broken off its rock. In another day, after driving from river to river, two kayaks drifted past us. Having read about the amazing Odette white hot spring, we were determined to head that way for lunch. Once there, in one of the busiest parts of town, we found ourselves unable to park in the boat launch. The operator suggested we return to Mazzoni. After a 15-minute drive, our car was maneuvered into a carefully planned slip into the visitor parking lot. There was a fishing tour going on with an experienced guide who fitted us with the appropriate fly rods and helmet harnesses. He made our trip only slightly boring by showing us various knots and explaining tactics of casting.
I brought along one friend whose interest in fly fishing may be mentioned below. One afternoon, with a staff dinner and meeting at a five-star hotel the next day, I planned to check out Mazzoni’s Trevignon Chapel, a quiet, medieval interior chapel that can be walked along at walking pace. Unfortunately, because of busyness, I was late arriving. After some quick deliberation, I decided to take the shuttle bus to the chapel and walked in. I stood in the secluded nave of the main hall, and once again stared at the columns and thrones before me. One of the imam’s altars on the wall caught my eye. The design of the palazzo is of marble, while the ornate altar paintings were painted at nearby Chirica, in northern Italy. All been painted from raw stone.