Data from 17 continuously cored boreholes, 40–170 m deep, reveal the subsurface stratigraphy of the Romagna coastal plain. Sedimentological and microfaunal data allow the distinction of eight facies associations of Late Pleistocene–Holocene age, including 18 lithofacies and 16 faunal associations. Ten 14C dates provide the basis to establish a sequence stratigraphic framework for the succession corresponding to the upper part 35 ky BP of the last glacio-eustatic cycle. The eight facies associations can be grouped into lowstand, transgressive and highstand systems tracts. The upper part of the lowstand systems tract consists of alluvial plain deposits. These accumulated during the Late Pleistocene when the shoreline was ≈250 km south of its present-day position. A pronounced stratigraphic hiatus (between 25 and 8·8 ky BP) is invariably recorded at the upper boundary (transgressive surface) of these Pleistocene, indurated and locally pedogenized alluvial deposits. The succeeding postglacial history is represented by a well developed transgressive–regressive cycle. Transgressive deposits, interpreted to reflect the rapid landward migration of a barrier–lagoon system, include two wedge-shaped, paralic and marine units. These thicken in opposite directions and are separated by a ravinement surface. Above the transgressive deposits, the maximum flooding surface (MFS) marks the change from a transgressive barrier–lagoon complex to a prograding, wave-dominated delta system (early Po delta). The MFS can be traced landwards, where it constitutes the base of lagoonal deposits. An aggradational to progradational stacking pattern of upper delta plain (marsh), lower delta plain (lagoon/bay), and delta front (beach ridge) deposits reflects the progressive increase in the sediment supply/accommodation ratio during the following highstand. The alluvial deposits capping the sequence accumulated by the 13th century AD, in response to an avulsion event that caused abandonment of the former Po delta lobe and the northward migration of the Po River towards its present position.