Environmental Geology

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 831–846

A century of land subsidence in Ravenna, Italy

  • P. Teatini
  • M. Ferronato
  • G. Gambolati
  • W. Bertoni
  • M. Gonella
Original Article


Over the last century the Ravenna area has been affected by a widespread land subsidence process of both natural and anthropogenic origin which has become a matter of increasingly great concern. Land settlement, initially of the order of a few mm/year, dramatically increased up to 110 mm/year after World War II primarily due to groundwater pumping and, subordinately, gas production from a number of deep on-shore and off-shore reservoirs. Spirit leveling was carried out in the area of the Ravenna Municipality by various authorities and agencies ever since the end of the nineteenth century using an increasingly refined network of benchmarks. The available information, spanning the time interval from 1897 to 2002, has been implemented and homogenized into a Geographic Information System (GIS). Measurements processed by kriging provide the pattern of the subsidence rates over the municipal territory during eight sub-periods. The reliability of data processing is discussed for both magnitude and areal distribution of the occurrence, showing a pronounced nonlinear behavior in time, as related to the major responsible factors. Cumulative land subsidence approaches almost 1 m over more than one third of the municipality area including the city and a significant fraction of the coastland, with peaks larger than 1.5 m over a 10 km2 zone located between the historical center and the coastline. Most recent records show that at present the mainland appears to be substantially stable, whereas some coastal areas are still subsiding at a rate of about 10 mm/year with a significant threat to the environment and the infrastructures as well, although to a lesser extent than in the past decades.


Land subsidence Spirit leveling GIS Kriging Po River plain 


  1. Baú D, Gambolati G, Teatini P (2000) Waterdrive dynamics and enhanced land subsidence over productive gas fields: Application to Dosso degli Angeli reservoir, Ravenna, Italy. In: Zhang D, Winter CL (eds) Theory, modeling and field investigation in hydrogeology: a special volume in honor of Shlomo P. Neuman’s 60th birthday. Geological Society of America, Special Paper 348, pp 129–149Google Scholar
  2. Benedetti G, Draghetti T, Bitelli G, Unguendoli M, Bonsignore F, Zavatti A (2000) Land subsidence in the Emilia-Romagna Region, northern Italy. In: Carbognin L et al. (eds) Land subsidence (Proceeding of the 6th international symposinm on land subsidence), Vol 1. La Garangola, Padova Italy, pp 61–76Google Scholar
  3. Bertoni W, Carbognin L, Gatto P, Mozzi G (1973) Note interpretative preliminari sulle cause della subsidenza in atto a Ravenna. Technical Report 65, CNR - Lab. Dinamica Grandi Masse, Venezia (Italy)Google Scholar
  4. Bertoni W, Brighenti G, Gambolati G, Ricceri G, Vuillermin E (1995) Land subsidence due to gas production in the on- and off-shore natural gas fields of the Ravenna area, Italy. In: Barends FBJ et al. (eds) Land subsidence (Proceeding of the 5th international symposium on land subsidence). IAHS Publ. No. 234, Wallingford UK, pp 13–20Google Scholar
  5. Bitelli G, Bonsignore F, Unguendoli M (2000) Levelling and GPS networks to monitor ground subsidence in the Southern Po Valley. J Geodyn 30: 355–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bondesan M, Favero V, Vinals MJ (1995) New evidence on the evolution of the Po-delta coastal plain during the Holocene. Quatern Int 29/30: 105–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bondesan M, Gatti M, Russo P (2000) Subsidence in the eastern Po plain (Italy). In: Carbognin L et al. (eds) Land subsidence (Proceeding of the 6th international symposium on land subsidence), Vol II. La Garangola, Padova Italy, pp 193–204Google Scholar
  8. Bonsignore F (2003) Land subsidence monitoring in Emilia-Romagna. In: Water, soil, climate: knowing to manage. I Quaderni di Arpa, Arpa Emilia-Romagna, pp 13–20Google Scholar
  9. Caputo M, Pieri L, Unguendoli M (1970) Geometric investigation of the subsidence in the Po Delta. Boll Geodesia Teorica e Applicata 47:187–207Google Scholar
  10. Carbognin L, Gatto P, Mozzi G, Gambolati G (1978) Land subsidence of Ravenna and its similarities with the Venice case. In: Saxena SK (ed) Evaluation and prediction of subsidence. ASCE, pp 254–266Google Scholar
  11. Carbognin L, Gatto P, Marabini F (1984a) Guidebook of the Eastern Po plain (Italy): A short illustration about the environment and land subsidence. Publication issued on occasion of the 3rd international symposium on land subsidence, Modena MunicipalityGoogle Scholar
  12. Carbognin L, Gatto P, Mozzi G (1984b) Case history no.9.15: Ravenna, Italy. In: Poland JF (ed) Guidebook to studies of land subsidence due to ground-water withdrawal. UNESCO, Paris, pp 291–305Google Scholar
  13. Cassiani G, Dossena G, Zoccatelli C (1998) L’approccio Eni—Divisione AGIP al problema della subsidenza. In: Brighenti G, Mesini E (eds) Problemi di Geoingegneria: Estrazioni di Fluidi e Subsidenza. GEO-GRAPH S.n.c., Segrate (Italy), pp 31–44Google Scholar
  14. Delfiner P, Delhomme JP (1973) Optimum interpolation by Kriging. In: Davis JC, McCullagh MJ (eds) Display and analysis of spatial data. Wiley, New York, pp 96–114Google Scholar
  15. Doglioni C (1993) Some remarks on the origin of foredeeps. Tectonophysics 228(1–2):1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fabbri P (1974) Ravenna. Geografia di un territorio. In: Padron (ed) Bologna, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  17. Fairbridge RW (1971) Quaternary shoreline problems at Inqua 1969. Quaternaria XV, VIII Congress INQUA, RomaGoogle Scholar
  18. Gambolati G, Teatini P (1998) Numerical analysis of land subsidence due to natural compaction of the Upper Adriatic Sea basin. In: Gambolati G (ed) CENAS, Coastline evolution of the upper Adriatic sea due to sea level rise and natural and anthropogenic land subsidence. Kluwer Academic Publishing, Water Science & Technology Library N. 28, pp 103–131Google Scholar
  19. Gambolati G, Ricceri G, Bertoni W, Brighenti G, Vuillermin E (1991) Mathematical simulation of the subsidence of Ravenna. Water Resour Res 27(11):2899–2918CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gambolati G, Teatini P, Tomasi L, Gonella M (1999) Coastline regression of the Romagna region, Italy, due to sea level rise and natural and anthropogenic land subsidence. Water Resour Res 35(1):163–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gambolati G, Teatini P, Gonella M (2002) GIS simulations of the inundation risk in the coastal lowlands of the Northern Adriatic Sea. Math Comput Model 35(9–10):963–972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. IDROSER (1996) Progetto di piano per la difesa dal mare e la riqualificazione ambientale del litorale della Regione Emilia-Romagna. Technical report, Regione Emilia-RomagnaGoogle Scholar
  23. de Marsily G (1984) Spatial variability of properties in porous media: a stochastic approach. In: Bear J, Corapcioglu MY (eds) Fundamental of transport phenomena in porous media, vol 82. E Martinus Nijhoff Publ NATO ASI Series Vol. 82, Dordrecht, pp 721–769Google Scholar
  24. Mattavelli L, Novelli L, Anelli L (1991) Occurrence of hydrocarbons in the Adriatic basin. In: Spencer AM (ed) Generation, accumulation and production of Europe’s hydrocarbons. Special Publication of European Association of Petroleum Geoscientists No. 1, Oxford University Press, Oxford (UK), pp 369–380Google Scholar
  25. Morelli M (1998) Collection and analysis of historical data on shoreline evolution at the sites of Ravenna, Cesenatico, and Rimini. In: Gambolati G (ed) CENAS, Coastline evolution of the upper Adriatic sea due to sea level rise and natural and anthropogenic land subsidence. Kluwer Academic Publishing, Water Science & Technology Library No.28, pp 57–75Google Scholar
  26. Roncuzzi A (1986) Ravenna nei tempi antichi. Classe e Ravenna III(1–2):2–4Google Scholar
  27. Salvioni G (1957) I movimenti del suolo nell’Italia centro-settentrionale: Dati preliminari dedotti dalla comparazione delle livellazioni. Bollettino di Geodesia e Scienze Affini XVI(3):325–363Google Scholar
  28. Teatini P, Gambolati G, Tomasi L, Putti M (1998) Simulation of land subsidence due to gas production at Ravenna coastline. In: Gambolati G (ed) CENAS, Coastline evolution of the upper Adriatic sea due to sea level rise and natural and anthropogenic land subsidence. Kluwer Academic Publishing, Water Science & Technology Library No.28, pp 133–150Google Scholar
  29. Veggiani A (1976) Le variazioni della linea di costa del Ravennate dall’età preromana al medioevo. In: Proceedings of the XXIII corso di cultura sull’arte ravennate e bizantina. F.lli Lega, Faenza (Italy), pp 331–344Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Teatini
    • 1
  • M. Ferronato
    • 1
  • G. Gambolati
    • 1
  • W. Bertoni
    • 2
  • M. Gonella
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mathematical Methods and Models for Scientific ApplicationsUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly
  2. 2.Comune di Ravenna, Servizio Geologico e Protezione CivileRavennaItaly
  3. 3.Med Ingegneria S.r.l.FerraraItaly

Personalised recommendations