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A journey to Cervia, the city of salt

Cervia Italy

Cervia, also known as the “city of salt“, is located in the Delta Po Park. This has an ancient tradition: its saltworks were probably already active during the Etruscan times and perhaps even during the Roman period. They constitute the most important link with this particular territory and with the natural, landscaped and manufacturing context in which they located.

What to see in Cervia

The Ecomuseum of Salt and Sea

Cervia saltworks Italy
The saltworks of Cervia, Emilia Romagna, Italy. Credits to: Alan.P/Shutterstock

The first stop on the journey to Cervia could be the saltworks and the Ecomuseum of Salt and the Sea. This is an immersive itinerary that discovers the relationship between man, sea and the identity of the local economy. Part of the itinerary includes a stop at the MUSA – The Salt Museum, where original documents, old photographs, tools and a model of the salt pans are kept. Besides, it is also possible to admire the ‘burchiella’: the typical boat used to transport ore from the salt pans to the storage warehouses. Here, it is possible to see a bridge that crosses the geographical-territorial reproduction of the coast and the hinterland, focusing its attention on the territory and its relationship between saltworks, cities and sea. The large sail, that dominates this space, exhibits the typical colors of the Cervia navy, to pay tribute to those who interact with the sea as a source of life.

The salt, considered the “White gold of Cervia”, is the undisputed protagonist of the journey. It is a delicate mix of nature, history, chemistry, work, memories and flavors. But, the central theme also consists of the experience of the salt workers who represent a focal point in the growth of the territory and of the town. It is thanks to them that this ancient craft of harvesting salt – which is a real ritual – is handed down.

The houses of the salt workers are located in the centre of the town and they were designed by the architect Francesco Fontana.

Useful information

Viale Nazario Sauro, n° 24, 48015 Cervia RA

+ 39 0544 977592


Opening hours: 14.30pm – 19pm Saturday and Sunday

Tickets: full price € 2,00; reduced price € 1,00 (children from 13 to 18 years old). Free admission every first Sunday of the month.

The historical centre, a mix between art and culture

The discovery of Cervia can continue with a walk through the historic centre, where there are numerous churches. Each of these buildings has its own historical, artistic and traditional identity.

Cervia Cathedral was built in 1699 by the architect Francesco Fontana. It has a simple stone façade and a bell tower. Inside you can admire six side chapels, each of which houses interesting works of art: these include a painting of the town’s patron Saint, St Paternian, and an 18th-century baptismal font.

Instead, art lovers should definitely take a look inside Palazzo Comunale, where the permanent exhibition of Maceo Casadei’s works is on display.

The Pineta of Cervia

The green areas are the real treasure not to be missed on your trip to Cervia, a heritage that encompasses a forest is the absolute protagonist: the Pineta. It is also mentioned by Dante and Byron.

The Pineta is an immense natural reserve in which flora and fauna reproduce in a luxuriant way, thanks to the particular territorial and climatic conditions. It is populated by rare and protected specimens and houses a treasure inside: the Butterfly House, that is a huge greenhouse that reproduces the climate and vegetation of the great rainforests and where hundreds of butterflies fly freely.

The century old Pineta, which has been a magnet for tourism for years, is also the background of the famous garden city of Milano Marittima, built at the edge of the expanse in 1912.

The Pineta is the protagonist of numerous events, including the musical events of the “Pineta all’Imbrunire” festival: this event proposes listening to music in a totally natural setting.

Wellness and thermal baths

The different aspects of this truly vast city satisfy all tastes. A trip to Cervia can also be a wellness trip, in fact,it is possible to enjoy its renowned thermal baths. Cervia thermal baths offer a wide range of beauty and health treatments thanks to the extremely beneficial and curative salso-bromoidic waters.

What to eat in Cervia

During your trip to Cervia, you should definitely try the typical recipes using the “White Gold” – Cervia Salt. The sweet salt of Cervia – which is also used in cosmetics – is the basis of some really delicious local dishes. These include the renowned Sweet Salt Chocolate and fresh salt cheeses. Besides, you can also enjoy fish, Cervia honey, and local wines such as the Cervia DOC.

What to see nearby

  • Gradara (50 minutes by car)
    Gradara, in the province of Pesaro Urbino, is a little town full of recognitions: among these there are its inclusion in the Italian Touring Club associations of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy” and the “Orange Flag”. This medieval village, with its splendid Fortress, was the setting for the love story of Paolo and Francesca.
  • Rimini (33 minutes by car)
    Rimini is the holiday resort par excellence on the Adriatic Riviera. Here the sea is a way of life, which is why it was often the setting for Fellini’s films. But Rimini was also the capital of a rule, that of Malatestas family; its art treasures include unique masterpieces ranging from the Roman period to the Renaissance.
  • San Marino (55 minutes by car)
    San Marino is one of the oldest republics in the world and it is a wonderful fairytale to be experienced. This territory is rich in cultural beauty, castles, churches, art and nature.

How to reach Cervia

Organizing your trip to Cervia is really simple – whether you arrive by car or whether you prefer to use the train or the plane.

By car

  • From the North: autostrada A14 Bologna-Ancona
    exit: Ravenna (direction Lidi Sud – Rimini), Cesena Nord, take highway E 45 towards Ravenna, exit at Casemurate and continue towards Cervia S.S. 254 (km 16), Cesena, take the S.S. 71 bis to-wards Cervia (12 km).
  • From the Northeast: Take S.S. 309 Romea up to Ravenna, continue on the S.S. 16 Adriatic towards Lidi Sud.
  • From the Central-South: Take the Highway E 45 and exit at Casemurate, continue towards Cervia.
  • From the South: Take the  A14 Bari – Bologna Highway – and exit at Cesena.  Then take the S.S. 71 bis towards Cervia (12 km).

By train

The railway station of reference is that of Cervia-Milano Marittima which is located on the Ferrara-Ravenna-Rimini line. Frequent connections allow you to reach all of the the main Italian and Euro-pean cities. About 20 km away, you will find the station of Cesena located on the Bologna-Ancona line.

By plane

The closest airport to Cervia which is connected to the most important Italian and European cities is Bologna International Airport (km 90).

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