Cesenatico – beautiful old ships in the port
Cesenatico’s old port was a very much oh wow effect when I drove by. I didn’t intend to stop here, as I was on my way south to Le Marche. But then I saw these ships sitting there, very much colourful sails and even more so as it was a beautiful sunny day. Next to it was a parking spot, so I got out to see what these ships were all about. I was thrilled to learn that they are sitting there permanently and are even used during festivals for sailings. I walked around in the port with open mouth – first as these colours of the sails were so very much bright and strong and because I never saw ships (or sails) like these before. I was very tempted to go into the museum and learn more, but as I already had decided to come back to this area for more exploring in a separate trip, Cesenatico’s port and museum was even more reason to do so.
But I found much information on the museum’s website (see below, website section) and thanks to the Italian part I am even able to identify the ships. The colourful sails show symbols of the fishermens’ families. On the website is written that during Christmas, the ships are transformed into a crib with life size statues of the fishermen on the boats. This must be a gorgeous sight! Well, Italy is known for very creative and often life size nativity scenes.
Leonardo da Vinci has designed Cesenatico’s port in 1502, and it is said that his work was very effective to protect the port against siltation. The museum shows more about this all, and the history of the marine life. Next to the Marine Museum is the so-called Antiquarium which is dedicated to the Roman history of this region. The museums are open only on weekends and holidays, 10:00 – 12:00 and 15:00 – 19:00, entrance fee 2 €. So much reason to come back one day and spend a full day in these museums :-)
All in all, this was maybe the most unexpected sights during my trip. This short trip along Cesenatico’s old port made me very much ashamed, as I had my “perceptions” about the Adriatic sea – the one of my childhood, the “teutonic barbecue”. And this made me completely neglect the fact that this region had its past and even an important past long before “we Teutons” came, invaded and somehow vandalised the region by branding it with our wishes for Bratwurst and Pommes and Schnitzel along with beach and sun and parasols and thus running down the region’s identity for a long time.
I was very much moved when I realised how deep my ridiculous imagination was influencing my expections and more than happy to see that the region and its people got their identity back – now they are no longer serving Pommes and Schnitzel, but local specialities and surprise with a very lively and colourful history.
I’ll be back for more and look forward to this!
- Museum Visits
- Sailing and Boating
- Road Trip
Farmers’ museum – when it is open….
Somehow my time schedule was a bit messed up, so I couldn’t visit the museum (it was either museum or Casa delle Farfalle, and I chose the latter). But from what I have read it must be excellent! I read that it shows farmers’ life along the Adriatic coast before the herds of Teutons came and occupied the area. Many old tools, equpiment and interiors are displayed and a photo section shows the life of the famers in the old days. It is located in an old stable next to a collection of houses for the todays’ famers cooperative. Needless to say that it is closed during lunch session and opens at 14:30 – so I couldn’t visit it. But… I have a good reason to come back one day, don’t I?
Instead of showing more of the museum, I have added photos of this so beautiful meadow next to it, in full spring bloom when I was there in April (2008). This meadow compensated for the closed-during-lunch museum.
As it is not easy to get to the museum, not even mention to find it (I drove circles twice…), I have added a GoogleMaps screenshot as photo 5. The blue line is for coming by car and the red one for coming by bike. There is a lot of construction work going on in this part of the village – so any of the Google Maps and even Google Earth are not showing today’s roads. The road to Casa delle Aie is now directly next to the train tracks.
It is the same direction as for Casa delle Farfalle, but drive past the butterfly house. By car: turn left at the roundabout where it says “Terme” and then drive in the SS 16 north. There is a garden centre on your right, exit here. By bike: continue along the street at the roundabout and when you’ve reached the Casa delle Aie (right hand side), go left and cross the train tracks and walk/bike left (south) until you see the buildings in front of you.
But you need a bike at least, as it is too far away to walk from Milano Marittima.
Monday to Friday: 8:00 – 12:30 and 14:30 – 18.00
(Entrance fee: sorry, I don’t know).
- Road Trip
- Museum Visits
Ideal for kids – Casa della farfalle
I have a bit mixed feelings about butterfly houses in general, as they can never protect the butterflies properly, no matter what kind of elaborate door mechanisms have been installed. The one in Milano Marittima is no exception. Butterflies can escape when the sliding doors open. But the ambience which was created for the butterflies is very beautiful and seems to be as authentic as possible (I did sweat like mad inside….). They write that more than 1000 butterflies live here, which I think is a bit too high of a figure, but 200-300 surely do. Educative paths lead through the greenhouse, in Italian as well and brief English and German descriptions. You can watch the butterfly feeding at the little flowershaped poles, look at the butterfly breeding centres and see how a caterpillar transforms into a beautiful butterfly. In between the paths are small ponds with fish and you will always be surrounded by butterflies.
I added some more photos in 2 travelogs, in case you want to see more butterflies.
The premises do have another attraction for kids, an insect house. But I didn’t go, as I found the entrance fee quite high in general. A big shop invites kids to get their little treasures, all connected to butterflies and insects.
The opening hours are very much related to the Adriatic season (but at least it was open….):
1: March, October, November: Tuesday to Sunday: 9:30 – 12:30 and 14:30 – 17:00
2: April, May, September: Tuesday to Sunday: 9:30 – 12:30 and 14:30 – 18:00
3: June, July, August: daily 9:30 – 12:30 and 14:30 – 19:00
Casa delle Farfalle: 7 €, reduced 6 €;
Casa delle Insecti: 4 €, reduced 3,50 €;
Combination ticket (both houses): 10 €, reduced 8,50 €;
Family tickets (for both houses, for 2 adults + 2 kids): 34 €;
Reductions: kids bigger than 1 m and younger than 12 and adults older than 65 years;
Free entry: kids smaller than 1 m and disabled people.
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
Coastal life – fascinating to watch
I am mentioning this to emphasise again that these famous bathing resorts are more than just party and sunbath places. This is part of Adriatic life: the fishermen have a special way to trawl the fish. Along the (artificial or natural) channels in the huge wetlands of Po river natural park you can see these specially designed wooden huts with a footbridge to the water. There the square nets are attached to a kind of lifting mechanism to allow the fishermen to place the nets into the water. On photos 1 and 2 you can see these nets hanging in the air, waiting for the fishermen to lift them down. The net in photo 3 is already halfway in the water and on photo 4 it is completely underwater. Then the men only have to wait a while, lift the nets back into the air and grab the catch of the day. It is fascinating to watch and while I was driving along the coast I was amazed how many of these huts and nets are found along the waterways. The fish they catch here are small sardine-like ones. I didn’t actaully taste some, but next time I will and will also spend more time to watch the men on their daily life. Maybe my Italian has improved by then so I can even have a chat or two. The men seem to be prepared for telling people about their work – while I was watching the ones in photos 3 and 4, they were waving to me.
Photo 5 is a screenshot of the waterway north of Milano Marittima (between Lido di Classe and Lido di Servio) and shows how many of these huts and nets are dotted along the water.
I was driving by car, but there are countless biking paths along the way. I’ll rent a bike next time and explore all this in more detail.
- Road Trip
Sant’Apollinare in Classe is near,don’t miss
Ravenna is only 30 minutes north of Milano Marittima and Cervia, and even if you don’t want to drive into the city, you should at least visit this gorgeous church which also belongs to the Byzantine style Ravenna churches (and thus is included in the UNESCO list). It was built in 6th century and was burial church for St. Apollinare, the saint who founded the first Christian community in what is Ravenna today. The church is located in the village of Classe and this is even older: Emperor Augustus established Civitas Classe to defend the Adriatic sea. A statue of him next to the curch reminds us of him as the founder.
The church is magnificent! Very simple from the outside, red bricks and a separate cylindrical Ravenna style campanile to the northeast with a huge surrounding garden, but inside it is full of finest mosaics in Byzantine style. It is rectangular, not roundish or octagonal, and has three naves. The outer ones are separated from the main one by each 24 columns of Greek marble (note the veined material, photos 4 and 5). Above them on the walls of the inner nave there are medallions showing the bishops of Ravenna.
But the best of all are the mosaics which decorate the apse (photos 1 - 3). They have been completed mid 6th century and are done in very much fresh colours. In the mid St. Apollinare stands in a green landscape, surrounded by plants and trees and watches over his herds of sheep. Above him, there is a huge blue medallion with a cross and Jesus in its centre and Moses and Elijah, representing the Old Testament. The sheep left and right from the cross depict Peter (left) and James and John (right, photo 1).
Both outer naves have 10 marble sarcophagi of Ravenna bishops with beautiful carvings, including the one of bishop Theodorus.
Calculate minimum 1 hour to visit this church, as there is so much to discover inside. And also walk around the premises, as there are many lovely details to discover. The statue of Emperor Augustus and also an emblem of the church at a gate to the garden behind the church.
At a point in time I will write more about the church on the separate Sant’Apollinare in Classe page (but not now).
Monday to Friday: 8:30 to 19:30, weekend: 13:30 to 19:30
Entrance fee: 3 €
For those who come by car – there is a huge parking area north and south of the church. And also facilities like toilets, childrens' playground and a restaurant. Although the sight of the restaurant in a building which seemed to be part of the church’s buildings, was a bit strange.
- Road Trip
- Religious Travel
The old port is a lovely place to relax
In addition to the historical relevant salt storage building and museum, this part on the port is a beautiful part of the village to relax. When I went there, I was fascinated by the magnificent fountain (main photo), which is very much colourful with mosaics and an interesting wavelike shape. Only later I learnt that it is called Il Tappeto Sospeso – the suspended carpet with two crystal and marble “pyramids” representing the salt. It was built 1997 to celebrate 300 years of New Cervia. Marco Bravura, the artist, seems to be famous for these floating structures in mosaic technique. If you look at GoogleEarth, you can find a little icon which will show a 360° panorama of this beaufiful fountain. I should have gone there later as well for a better view of the colours in the evening, but missed it.
The surrounding park has also another interesting little “monument”, more of a landscape of olive trees, grapevine and wheat: a little landscape with harvest equipment is shown here (photos 2 and 3), contribution to Brindisi. There is a sign which said that it was laid out in 2005, for an exhibition Cervia Città Giardino – Maggio in Fiore (gaden city Cervia – March in flowers) and meant to reintroduce the idea of rural landscape into the cities that, more and more are losing their identities and origins (quoted from the sign). I found this a very nice idea to remind us all how much we have done already to our formerly intact environment and to show us ways to live in symbiosis with nature rather than exploit it too much.
- Road Trip
- National/State Park
Salt – white gold of Milano Marittima’s past
Well, my title is not correct, as Milano Marittima is only a bit more than 100 years old. But its “mother city” Cervia was a very important salt centre since 9th century. Cervia is in the suthernmost part of the Parco del Delta del Po, a large region where the wetlands of Po river are conserved and protected. And its more than 800 ha big salt extraction area, the saltworks/salines, can still be visited today. Well, in season only, unfortunately.
Opening hours of the saline:
March to mid June and October to March: Saturday and Sunday 10-12:30 and 14:30 to sunset
Mid June to September: daily from 15:30 to sunset
(I couldn’t visit, as I was there in March and during weekdays only)
The salt is said to be extremely pure, with a NaCl content of > 97%, which makes it less bitter than other salts. It is still sold in the visitor centre of the salines, for cooking and also in preparation for body care. And there is a festival, based on salt, in September: Sapore di Sale (taste of salt), which should be also fun to watch.
In addition to the salines, the old salt storage buildings of end 17th century are still there, at the canale delle saline, the water channnel, which separates Milano Marittima from Cervia. The huge buildings were able to store more than 25.000 tons of salt in the towers and storehouses left and right of the channel. Today they house the Salt Museum which must also be very interesting to visit, provided you are there when it is open. Again, out of season it is open only on weekends.
Opening hours of the salt museum:
January to end March and mid September to January: Saturday and Sunday 15:00 – 18:30,
End march to May: Saturday and Sunday 16:00 – 19:00,
June to mid September: daily 8:30 to 11:00
Torre San Michele (on the Cervia side of the channel) was furthermore used as a watchtower to defend the white gold from Turks and Saracens.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
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