Emerging from the Apennines, entering the Po Valley from the right bank, following the river Taro.
The Val di Taro was of strategic importance during the Middle Ages, as it was traversed by the Via Francigena. About 12 miles of the river course between Fornovo di Taro and Ponte Tarovconstitutes the protected area of the Parco fluviale Regionale del Taro.
The Po Valley overlays a system of deeply buried ancient canyons surviving from the tectonic collision of an offshore land mass, Tyrrhenis, with the mainland. The valley has filled up 7-5 million years ago with sediment mainly from the Apennines and the Alps.
Until about 1950 the Po delta was prograding into the Adriatic Sea. Due to human alteration of geologic factors, such as the sedimentation rate, the delta has been degrading and the coastline subsiding, resulting in ongoing contemporaneous crises in the city of Venice, for example, where much of the irreplaceable architecture is likely to be lost due to soaring sea level in the next centuries.