Cervia and white gold

Cervia is a splendid town on the Adriatic coast where the renown Sardinian poet Grazia Deledda chose to live for a long time and was awarded honorary citizenship in 1928.

This is the ideal place for a honeymoon. Go down towards the sea: the beach is sloping, and in this rather wide point, there is fine, moving sand, creating real sand dunes.

Grazia Deledda  The Land of the Wind  1931

cerviaAlso called the “city of salt”, our Cervia tour will depart from the San Michele tower, built in 1691 as a defense against pirate raids, and as a control tower for the salt trade, also known as white gold.

We continue on to the warehouse “Tower”: imposing example of industrial archeology, in the past destined to the  storage of salt waiting for a commercial destination. The white gold came from the surrounding salt marshes and was transported on burchielle, typical iron boats drawn with ropes by salt workers who walked along the bank of the canal. These days it houses the salt museum “MUSA”, where we can admire old tools, images and testimonies of the ancient  salt civilization.

Also in this area you can admire the fountain “The suspended carpet” conceived by Tonino Guerra. The work, created by the mosaic artist Marco Bravura of Ravenna in 1997, incorporates the colours of the flora and fauna of the salt pans evoked by the white heaps of salt carried by the carpet.

cerviaContinuing along Via Cavour we reach Piazza Garibaldi with its quadrangular form we are reminded that Cervia is one of the rare cities of Italian foundation: here are the main buildings of the ancient city. The cathedral, a symbol of the past power of the church, and opposite, the town hall built between 1702 and 1712 as the Priory palace. Under the arches that connect Piazza Garibaldi to Piazza Pisacane (square of the herbs) is the old fish market with its marble counters dating from the Napoleonic period. Today it houses exhibitions and cultural activities. In the southwest bastion of the city wall is the small, cosy City Theatre built in 1862.

Returning to the main square and proceeding towards the canal, on the left, you can see the Church of Suffrage, it  contains a beautiful organ built around 1788 by the famous Venetian organ maker Gaetano Callido: it is one of the few “Callidos” still in use in the region.

Walking along the harbor, towards the sea, crossing the ancient Marina Village where the fishermen’s families lived  and, a little further, we find the lighthouse currently in use, despite its age: it was built in 1875 and the light is visible up to 14 miles away.

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