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. Biproducts of the salt production process are salt water, salt and mud which are then used in the nearby spa for therapeutical purposes. In this film I show the spa - although it is closed and I was shown around specially for this film.
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 which I show in this film.
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.