A Sea of opportunities
At your arrival in the saltpans, you are welcomed by a flock of flamingos taking flight above you. On your left you can see a pile of salt, while on your right some salt-workers are harvesting the salt. A taste of history pervades the ancient quadrilateral city centre and the area of the Salt Storehouses. A little farther, the Fishermen neighborhood, with its lined-up houses, mirrors onto the canal. Two cultures – the salt-workers’ and the fishermen’s, which were once counterposed, meet here to tell you about the soul of a vibrant, hospitable town.
The Pinewood of Pinarella and Tagliata
This 24-hectare pinewood is a precious green lung for the resorts of Pinarella and Tagliata.
The pinewood is accessible from dawn to dusk only.
The Salt Plan
The Salt Pan covers a surface of 827 hectares, about 1600 m from the sea. In 1959 the single collection industrial system replaced the previous multiple collection artisan method; the 144 small salt pans existing at the time were substituted with a dozen large basins.
The 144 salt pans were radically transformed into a single large pan, where salt was collected only once from a few dozen tanks known as “salanti” at the end of the summer, using modern mechanical equipment.
The Salina Camillone is the only survivor among multiple-collection salt pans; it is still in operation thanks to the voluntary work by the Civiltà Salinara Cultural Association, producing high-quality salt to Slow Food standards.
Inside the Salt Pan you have the Visitors’ Centre, a building which used to be a slaughterhouse and is now fitted up as a meeting point for nature and bird enthusiasts.
Today it is one of the most important observation points for the study and census of migrations along the Adriatic.
The Centre is the starting point for guided tours inside theCervia’s Salt Pan; it includes an information path which allows for an in-depth overview of the historical and economic issues associated with salt production.
The Salt Pan waters are also home for Artemia salina, a small reddish crustacean, no more than 15 mm long.
Artemia salina is indispensable for salt production, it keeps water in the tanks clear, feeding on algae and detritus, letting sunrays through which facilitates evaporation.
This small animal is also a fundamental link along the food chain in the Salt Pan: its predators include in particular birds such as the flamingo and the Sheldrake, and numerous mud-dwelling species such as the avocet and the black-winged stilt.
Borgo Marina – The Fishermen’s Neighbourhood
The seafaring sector in Cervia was affected by growing tourism activities in the area. Its development was due to the migrations of fishermen from Veneto, from the Po Delta region, and only in part from areas further south along the Romagna coastline; seafaring activities in Cervia were started by fishermen families living in the rows of houses in Borgo Marina, outside the old town Quadrilatero.
They were thus separated from the town’s liveliest section, associated with salt production and salt workers’ families; their life was still characterised by backwardness, with widespread poverty and illiteracy, their work was hard and dangerous.
The tourism boom, first in its pioneering stages, then increasingly on an industrial scale, contributed to boosting the limited income from fishing. The latter indeed found a new market outlet for the fish caught by sailors from Cervia in the new accommodation and catering facilities. Moreover the fishermen came up with the idea of “pescaturismo”, fishing excursions at sea for tourists with entertainment and informative moments.
Almost all the sailors’ and fishermen’s families came from Chioggia, Comacchio and Goro, having travelled to Cervia for salt transport purposes; others arrived between 1800 and 1900. At the turn of the century, marriages were still limited to within the community. This is why their surnames still feature prominently in town: Bellini, Bonaldo, Foli, Lucchi, Mezzagori, Modanesi,Nella, Penso, Picciarini, Ricci, Tiozzi, Trampalina, Veronesi and Zanini.
Every Thursday, from May to September, Borgomarina – Vetrina di Romagna takes place, an event featuring street markets and exhibitions of typical produce and craft from Romagna, performances and culinary suggestions from restaurants in the ancient fishermen’s borough, art exhibitions and cultural events.