Bomb disposal experts from the Italian military were called on to safely detonate the 450kg bomb, which they achieved via a controlled explosion on Sunday.
Around 3,000 residents from the nearby village of Borgo Virgilio near Mantua in northern Italy were evacuated as a safety precaution, according to army officials.
“At first, some of the inhabitants said they would not move, but in the last few days, we think we have persuaded everyone,” the village’s mayor Francesco Aporti told Reuters.
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The bomb, which reportedly contained 240kg of explosives, was transferred to a quarry approximately 30km away from where it was discovered before being blown up.
The device came to light after a months-long drought – described as Italy’s worst in 70 years – caused parts of the River Po to dry up, leaving its riverbed exposed for the first time in decades.
The approximately four thousand risotto rice paddies in the Po Valley around the River Po have been particularly hard hit, with farmers forced to abandon some fields altogether try to rescue others.
“The situation is desperate, not to say apocalyptic,” one rice farmer told AFP news agency in late July.
Italy supplies more than half of the European Union’s rice, most of which is grown in the Po Valley in a 220,000-hectare area stretching west from Pavia in Lombardy to Vercelli and Novara in Piedmont.