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Low water levels in the river have exposed the wreck of the World War II barge Zibello

In Italy, a massive drought has severely affected water levels in rivers and lakes and exposed the wreck of the World War II barge Zibello. Italy’s Po River, like many other bodies of water on the Italian peninsula, has fallen victim to the worst drought in 70 years. However, even in the midst of such
Published: July 3, 2022 - 09:00
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 01:00
Low water levels in the river have exposed the wreck of the World War II barge Zibello

In Italy, a massive drought has severely affected water levels in rivers and lakes and exposed the wreck of the World War II barge Zibello.

Italy’s Po River, like many other bodies of water on the Italian peninsula, has fallen victim to the worst drought in 70 years. However, even in the midst of such a disaster, small positives can be found. These certainly include the discovery of the wreck of the World War II barge Zibello, which was exposed by the drought.

The found vessel was transporting timber during the war, before it sank to the bottom of the Po River near Gualtieri in 1943. In the past, the water level had already dropped so much that the barge’s bow alone was visible. But now, during a record drought, almost the entire 50-metre wreck is exposed.

Barge of 1943.
The wreck of the 1943 barge Zibello protruding above the waters of the Po River Photo by Alessio Bonin

Wreck of the barge Zibello

The barge is actually a cargo ship from the Second World War. It traversed the Po River, transporting timber between the Atlantic Ocean and Cremona in Lombardy. She sank in 1943 after one of the bombardments carried out by the Americans. Her wreck has since rested at the site of her sinking.

In recent years you could see the bow of the vessel, so we knew it was there, but to see the ship so exposed in March, when it was basically still winter, was unusual said Alessio Bonin, the amateur photographer who took the pictures of the barge.

The wreck of the barge Zibello is not the only one a relic from the pastthat the drought has revealed at the bottom of the Po river. In March, someone noticed metal sticking out of the sand at Sermide and it turned out to be a tank from 1945. The available information suggests that the retreating German troops sunk it deliberately.

Photo by Alessio Bonin


Sweden is famous for its magnificent wrecks that rest at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. One of them is the magnificent Bodekull warship wreck from the 17th century, which we visited in 2021. You will read more about it in issue 19. the DIVERS24 quarterly magazine! The digital version of the magazine is available free of charge, while you can purchase the printed version in our online shop.

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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