Comacchio, Cervia and Cesenatico: a three-day tour to discover three seaside villages in Romagna, with hidden corners, sceneries that cannot be missed and food that are typical of these towns.
Three days to explore this piece of coastline where the saltiness of the sea gently caresses your skin and where you are warmly welcomed.
Day one: Comacchio, often referred to as Little Venice. The best place to start is none other than Trepponti, recognizable anywhere, an obvious symbol of the town of canals in Romagna and ideal starting point to explore its fascinating historic centre.
Comacchio is famous for its large number of canals, crossed by small bridges that link all the different corners of the town to one another. Along these canals, you can see pastel-coloured façades of terraced houses. You must also visit the Antica Pescheria, a beautiful seventeenth century building, where maritime activities took place. Today it is a daily fish market.
It is well worth strolling along the maze of sidewalks that run along the canals where you can observe (and take pictures of) the different colours that are reflected in the water. Water is precisely the main characteristic of the entire area of Comacchio. A tour on board the traditional batane, small flat-bottomed-boats that were used as regular transportation for decades by the townspeople, is a must. You should also visit the Po Delta Park. The unique and one-of-a-kind panorama has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, where you can follow uncontaminated, mysterious and irresistible itineraries.
Typical foods in Comacchio: the true protagonist in these areas is eel and is found in many typical dishes such as eel broth, marinated eel, eel risotto, and much more. Strong contestants for the “culinary throne of Comacchio” also include clams, mussels and razor clams cooked in oil with garlic and parsley, with tomatoes or gratin.
Day two: Cervia. The itinerary for seaside villages in Romagna proceeds to Cervia. The first thing you will actually learn about this place is that it is known as the salt town, which you will see when you visit the MUSA, the Museum of Salt. Its documents, tools and photos describe the history, culture and production of this extraordinary element.
At this point, you will all agree that you cannot miss out on the Antica Salina Camillone, the last of the 144 small artisanal salterns, operational until 1959. It is truly a unique, naturalistic and spectacular environment. Here, the sun that shines over the long stretches of white salt paints quite a picture. Advice? Watch the sunset as the white salt turns pink.
Typical foods in Cervia: famous all over the world, the "sweet" salt from Cervia has been protected by the Principals of Slow Food since 2004. You must absolutely try the chocolate and fresh cheeses made with this salt. Numerous recipes often pair these culinary delicatessens with fish from the Adriatic Sea. Examples of these dishes include sardine fillets with Cervia salt, red mullet in foil and breaded pilchard and sardines with aromatic Cervia salt.
Day three: Cesenatico. The Canal Port, designed by Leonardo da Vinci, is the precise spot around which the historical centre of Cesenatico was developed. Start your tour here and stroll down the docks until you reach and admire the fish shop in Piazza Fiorentini, built in the 1800s in Liberty style. Behind this market there are two small piazzas called Piazzetta delle Erbe and Piazzetta delle Conserve.
At Port-Canal, right before a well-deserved break along the seashore, you can take a look at the boats of the Museo Galleggiante della Marineria, the only museum in Italy, and among the few in the world, that has a true floating section with eleven boats in the water, three of which are still in use. This guarantees that the intangible asset of ancient navigation practices is preserved and handed down.
Typical foods in Cesenatico: besides the classic piadina [simple local flat bread] that you can eat while walking along the seashore, traditional cuisine in Cesenatico also offers crescione, passatelli [pasta made with Parmesan cheese, eggs and breadcrumbs] cooked in broth and to finish a nice slice of bustrengo. What is it? It’s a homemade cake made of 32 ingredients, 20 of which are known and the other 12 are jealously kept secret. The basic ingredients are flour and dried nuts and fruits such as almonds, walnuts and figs.