Between the Romagna Apennines and the sea, about 15 km from the Adriatic Riviera of Rimini and about 30 km from Ravenna, is Cesena, a beautiful Malatestian town.
One of the most important artistic points of interest in Romagna, Cesena is a must for good food and wine lovers. The lordship of the Malatesta family brought Cesena to the peak of its culture and history, with some architectural and artistic treasures that can still be visited today.
Cesena’s important international position in the agri-food sector and its culinary traditions place the town among the most important destinations of the Romagna hinterland.
Cesena is an interesting destination all year round. Among its treasures is the Malatestian Library, one of the most important examples of an Italian fifteenth century library. The reason why the library is so precious is that it has remained completely unchanged, as it was five centuries ago. Due to its extraordinary heritage, it was included in the Unesco “Memory of the World” list.
The Malatesta Family also built the Rocca Malatestiana, the Fortress of Cesena, one of the most impressive of Romagna. It can be seen from its bastions, with its two buildings: the "Male" and the "Female" towers. The latter hosts the Museum of Agricultural History which offers visitors an insight into the rural areas of Romagna over the years. The walkways inside the walls, the old prisons and the exhibition of joust weapons are also very interesting.
If you visit Cesena, you can’t miss a walk in the lively streets of the old town, from Piazza del Popolo, with the beautiful Fontana Masini to Palazzo del Ridotto, with the bronze statue of pope Pius VI, from the Cathedral of S. Giovanni Battista, with the chapel of Madonna del Popolo and the Museum of Sacred Art, and the “Alessandro Bonci” Theatre, a true neoclassical jewel. The culture offered is complemented by the Museum of Natural Sciences, the Municipal Art Gallery (hosting the precious painting of "Madonna della Pera" by Paolo Veneziano), the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Centuriation.
On a hill, visible from everywhere in the town, is the Abbazia of Santa Maria del Monte about a thousand years old. The Abbey is famous for its internationally known collection of "ex-voto" (wooden votive tablets), some of which were painted more than five centuries ago, and for the impressive dome painted by Giuseppe Milani. The Abbey also hosts some important and precious paintings and a laboratory for the restoration of ancient books.
Villa Silvia-Carducci is a magnificent mansion located in Lizzano, on the hills between Cesena and Bertinoro, and hosts "Musicalia", an interesting and peculiar museum entirely dedicated to mechanical music, and the personal room of the Nobel laureate poet Giosuè Carducci.
You cannot leave Cesena without having bought a typical terra cotta pan in Montetiffi (about 25 km) used to cook the "piadina", or flat bread, the iconic street food of Romagna.
The culinary traditions of the area are very varied, influences range from the Tuscan Apennine ridge to the flavours of the coast. Always present on the table are piadina which you can also taste in the typical kiosks, and wines, from the famous red Sangiovese, which fits perfectly with soup and meat, to the white Albana and Trebbiano. Cesena is also included in the “The Wine and Dine Route through the Hills of Forlì and Cesena”.
Do not miss the International Street Food Festival; the Fair of San Giovanni, patron saint of the city. There is also the packed schedule in the outdoor locations, the renowned winter theatre Alessandro Bonci and the International horseracing at the Hippodrome of Savio.
Visiting Cesena also means discovering a whole area where, along with its bathing areas and spas, it has great historic villages and small towns such as Longiano (km 15), Bertinoro (km 10), Formlipopoli (km 12), Sarsina (km 30), Monteleone (km 15) and Roncofreddo (km 20). These are places full of examples of ancient artistic and cultural heritage, in addition to a famous production of food and wine, of course.