The “South Station” of the Po Delta Park, Cervia lies on the Romagna coast next to Milano Marittima and just a few miles from Ravenna and Rimini.
Cervia perfectly blends into its extensive green areas. Embraced by over 300 hectares of pine forest and 827 of salt pans, it’s an authentic natural oasis full of birdlife.
With its 9 kilometres of fine sandy beaches and first-rate services in over 185 bathing establishments, Cervia offers many free-time activities and sports for all ages. Its beach safety as well as the quality of the salt-water and services are all reflected in the Blue Flag award that Cervia features since 1998.
Romagna cordiality, hospitality and gastronomy are all expressed in the vast variety of hotels, glamorous restaurants, bars, and clubs that welcome thousands of tourists each year.
Summer is the best time to visit Cervia; the city comes to life in this season with all kinds of activities for the perfect holiday. The whole family can relax on the beach and in the pine forest, while young people have a lot of opportunities to enjoy themselves in trendy clubs and during events. The Borgomarina street market, the concerts at Piazza Garibaldi and all the cultural and artistic initiatives are only a few of the many events that populate the city each summer.
Spring and autumn are particularly recommended to sport enthusiasts and nature lovers, as well as for anyone keen on wellness, food and wine. Cervia maintains its seaside town atmosphere also in winter, when shopping opportunities are never missing at the Christmas market in the city centre. New Year’s Eve is not to be missed as well as Valentine’s Day weekend, when strolling through the city’s streets hand in hand becomes even more romantic after a candlelit dinner in one of the many restaurants.
No matter what time of the year the city has many places worth seeing, with buildings and monuments rich in history.
Starting from Piazza Garibaldi, the heart of the city and stage for most of its glamorous events, one can admire the Municipal Palace and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which contains historical artifacts and works of art like the “Madonna della neve”, a painting survived from the old city, or just off the square, the Church of the Suffrage with the wooden Rhenish Gothic crucifix datable to the middle of the 14th century.
Walking along the inner walls there’s a view on the 19th century Municipal Theatre and Pisacane square, or “piazzetta delle erbe”, where one can find the Measure Stone: a matrix with measurements unique to Cervia, like “passo” or “quadrè” that were used by locals and outsiders in the old days. Today the square hosts many kinds of events, in a shopping and culinary centre of recent renovation. Particularly interesting is the “Vecchia Pescheria”, the old fisher market and one of the most ancient buildings, now converted into a restaurant.
The old saltworkers village can be noticed immediately outside the city walls and is fascinating evidence of a town that has been completely rebuilt at the end of the 17th century. Facing towards Viale Roma a fountain depicting a mermaid catches the eye: it’s Angelika, a monument that a German tourist dedicated to his wife and the city where they spent their most unforgettable summers together.
A turn to the canal and San Michele tower appears on the horizon, one of the city’s landmarks like the two salt storehouses right next to it. The Tower Storehouse hosts MUSA, the Salt Museum, keeper of the city’s history and traditions, while in front of it, the Darsena Storehouse on the dock side is now a place dedicated to wellness with events, food and wine, and a spa.
Just outside the city’s centre one can find Sant’Antonio church, one of the first buildings of Cervia Nuova. It is advised to cross the drawbridge to visit the charming Tappeto Sospeso fountain, a suspended carpet with thousands of shining mosaic tiles painstakingly placed and carved by hand.
Cervia green areas fill up with all kinds of colors during Garden City, an outdoor exhibition where expert gardeners from all over Europe create amazing flower compositions each year from May until September.
Cervia Thermal Spa, located in the middle of the ancient pinewood, is on the forefront of modern therapies, some of which also use liman, a very effective and healing lagoon mud, extracted from the salt pans.
Cervia Salt Pan
Standing at the entrance of the city, Cervia Salt Pan fascinates with its history and the natural charm of the salt ponds and the fauna inhabiting them, like herons, black winged stilts and the stunning pink flamingos. Guided visits by boat or on foot, are not to be missed.
It’s advised to buy a bag of Sweet Salt produced in the Camillone salt pan: the only one still producing salt with non-industrial methods, using the wooden tools of the past and following a traditional process. In the company of experienced salt workers, it is possible to visit the ancient saltpan.
This corner of tropical nature framed by the striking Cervia pine forest opens every spring with a greenhouse inhabited by hundreds of colorful butterflies. Its serene atmosphere enthralls people of any age, while the botanical path and the adjoining building set up with terrariums filled with the most peculiar insects from all over the world will entertain the most curious guests.
Cervia Sweet Salt, a slow food presidium, is widely used in local cuisine and other unique products of Cervia, like the salted chocolate. Cervia mussels are another locally produced food famous even abroad as an excellent eco-friendly product, like the sweet cardoon and Pinarella’s asparagus, two traditional products with a peculiar sweet taste thanks to their cultivation in sea-sand terrain.
One can find the typical Romagna gastronomy in meals like Piadina with Squacquerone cheese and rocket accompanied by a glass of Sangiovese red wine, the local grilled blue fish paired up with white wine, and Ciambella cake with Albana wine for dessert. Traditional places of the Romagna identity are: the Fishermen Club, Borgomarina and the colorful piadina kiosks.
Whether in town or surrounded by nature, Cervia offers many fun activities for tourists of all ages.
Tree-climbing at Cervia Avventura in the Nature Park is worth trying, as well as a stroll through the nature trail and a visit to the Old Farm to meet many different animal species.
One can try their hand at many sport activities: from horse riding to beach sports and something more adrenaline-inducing, like the go-kart. Not to be missed are the kayak tours that take place in the canal surrounded by the green of the pine forest.
Golf enthusiasts will appreciate the fully-equipped golf courses, while the miniature golf facilities placed throughout the territory are ready to put both beginners and pros to the test.
Finally the “Salinaro per un giorno” (salt-worker for a day) initiative is meant for anyone who’d like to experience first-hand the traditional salt harvest of Cervia.
Cervia Thermal Spa and several bathing establishments welcome their guests with relaxing treatments, both curative and aesthetic.
The thermal indoor pool with its hypertonic water tank is beneficial as a skin treatment for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also great for posture thanks to its elevated salt level, the highest in the world surpassing even the Dead Sea.
Special trails in the pinewood equipped with gymnastic gear are available outdoors in order to enjoy sports while surrounded by nature.
Athletes from all over the world gather in Cervia to challenge themselves in this incredible triathlon competition, a unique event in Italy not to be missed that takes place each year at the end of summer.
The legendary car race makes a stop in Cervia at the end of its first day of competition. Over 400 vintage cars can be admired while parading through town during the event.
It’s Cervia's oldest festivity, still celebrated today since 1445. The ritual of the ring throw carried out by the bishop and its dramatic retrieval are preceded by a medieval procession starting from Piazza Garibaldi and a traditional gathering of historical boats sporting brightly colored sails.
Sapore di sale - Salt Festival
A festival dedicated to the “white gold” and its history tied to Old Cervia traditions. The “salt delivery” reenactment is not to be missed, as well as the many street markets and guided visits available during this special day.
A yearly event where the night becomes alight with fireworks. The beach clubs, open from 8 PM to 3 AM, are the perfect place to enjoy them with a beautiful dinner and entertainment.
Various dates, from June until September
Each summer Piazza Garibaldi becomes the outdoor stage for singers and high level performances perfect for any kind of audience.
Cervia is the ideal starting point for pleasure trips to the surrounding areas. Just at 6 km away is Pisignano, with its Santo Stefano Parish Church, dating back to 977 BC, and famous for its Luca Longhi frescos, and Cannuzzo is very close by (10 kms), with the Madonna degli Angeli church where a wide 16th century fresco depicting the Virgin resides. Castiglione di Cervia (9 km) has San Lorenzo oratory and the Duke D’Altemps forest, thus offering an interesting location both from a cultural and naturalistic perspective.
For day trips the cities of Ravenna (km 20), the capital of mosaics, and Faenza (50 km), the city of ceramics, are of particular interest. Nature trails, cultural, religious, as well as food and wine itineraries are offered by the Apennine hills: among the most characteristic villages are Montebello (km 42) with its castle, home of Azzurrina’s ghost; Bertinoro (km 32) and its medieval stronghold, and Sarsina (km 50) where the famous Latin author Plauto was born.
Moreover, only 13 km away from Cervia is the theme park Mirabilandia.