Cervia is a seaside town of some 30,000 people in Emilia-Romagna in Italy, best known for its salt which has been locally produced for hundreds of years. The name Cervia probably refers to the Acervi which is the name given to large amounts of salt left in the local evaporation pods.
As can be seen, I was fortunate enough to park right in the centre of town although in summer you would not get away with this in a motorhome - however there are campsites around 2km from the centre.
Cervia is a fishing port - so fresh fish is available throughout the year!
The town has existed probably for 3,000 years, founded by the Greeks. The medieval city was in the salt marsh, it was walled and had three fortified entrances, seven churches and a castle. It was important enough to get a mention in Dante's Divine Comedy (Inferno, Canto XXVII, lines 40–42).
The marsh was malarial and therefore unhealthy and on 9 November 1697 Pope Innocent XII ordered the whole city to be rebuilt in a safer location - so everything moved. One of the reasons for the original location was defence against pirates in the Adriatic, however the sea had retreated around one kilometre and so the new location was safer. However the Pope kept his eye on the bottom line and remembered that the main business was salt, so the new Cervia had to have silos for storage of salt, containing up to 13,000 tons. Those silos can still be seen today, one on each side of the canal.
The town that we can see today therefore is a prime example of early eighteenth century planning - a new town so to speak. It is built in a square, with the poorer housing on the outsides and the wealthier residences around the magnificent town square.
In summer, Cervia is a seaside resort which attracts mainly German and Italian visitors. It's 10km of shoreline has sandy beaches.
Cervia has a 260 hectare pine forest which includes another 'new town' that of Milano Marittima which dates to the late nineteenth century. Today house prices are the highest in Emiglia Romagna outside of Bologna. On the northern side of the forest, we can find the health spa which has a variety of water treatments. (see film).
In Cervia has several cycling routes and is quite well known for the amount of bicycles, especially during summer.
The salt pans are today a haven for a variety of birds, some of which are stop overs on hibernating trips. There is a large museum next to the pans which describes the wildlife that can be seen there.
An annual kite festival is held at the end of April on the beach. See photographs.
The Museum of Salt is located in one of the warehouses and describes how salt was panned throughout history.
St. Michael Tower offers views over the town (see photographs and film) as well as the tourist office below.