Battaglia Terme stretches along the banks of the Battaglia canal which was dug by the Paduans in the 13th century. Everything in Battaglia is in connection and related to water. The town has been for centuries the nodal point of a vast network of traffic and commerce and an important river port. Its canal were sailed by great burchi (typical freight boat) loaded with masegni (trachyte) and corn, which were bound for Venice harbour and the Lagoon. Water was also the main source of hydraulic energy, which moved mills, saws, hammers and fulling machines of the local paper mill, which enhanced the flourishing artisan activity of Battaglia.
The Museum of River Navigation is the main evidence of the century old industrial vocation of Battaglia Terme. The museum is situated in the Ortazzo Riviera and represents a unicum in its genre.
The Museum of River Navigation in Battaglia Terme provides a real and true journey to the lost world and culture of the barcari , a world which is strictly bound to the identity and history of Battaglia Terme and its surroundings. Thanks to the enthusiasm and dedication of a number of ex-boatmen who, starting in 1979, began gathering together numerous exhibits and invaluable documentation, and the permission to use the former public slaughterhouse as the museum’s home, this key and previously-unexplored aspect of the history of the Veneto and Po Valley regions is now accessible to all.
Navigation began to wane on some river branches with the construction of the railways in the 1800s and the decline continued through the period following the second world war thanks to fierce competition from road transport which rendered profitless and cumbersome the traditional wooden boats which remained in use up to the 1950s. The purpose of the Battaglia Museum is to provide a journey through the "lost" world of river and lagoon transport in all its facets including: activity in the boatyards and the various types of boats.