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Cesenatico, Province of Forlì-Cesena, Emilia‑Romagna

Cesenatico coatofarms Midway between Ravenna and Rimini, this originally fishermen's town has changed in the last few decades into one of the most attractive Italian seaside resorts.

The town is rich of hotels, vacation homes, campsites and wellness centers, both in Cesenatico and the smaller localities of Zadina Pineta (with its refreshing pinewood by the sea) Valverde and Villamarina, and in the vicinity of beautiful theme parks as Mirabilandia. The ancient port still exerts a special fascination with its old-time sail boats, and the golden, wide beach and low sea bottoms make it an ideal place also for families with young children, not to mention the celebrated night life of the Italian Riviera, that will certainly entice young and older tourists.
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Info

  • Altitude: 2 mt a.s.l
  • Population: about 25,000 inhabitants (in 2012)
  • Zip/postal code: 47042
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0547
  • Patron Saint: St. Giacomo Apostolo, celebrated on 25 July
  • Frazioni & Localities: Bagnarola, Borella, Boschetto, Cannucceto, Levante, Madonnina-Santa Teresa, Ponente, Sala, Valverde, Villamarina, Villalta, Zadina.

History

Though founded according to the tradition as a port of Cesena in 1302, in the area called "Tomba di San Tommaso", Cesenatico rises in the vicinity of the Via Popilia, a Roman coastal road along the Adriatic, and archaeological findings have shown the presence of Roman villas in Podere Fornari, and a Roman statio (a camp and checking point for troops and dignitaries) called Ad Novas.

The newly-founded town soon grew in importance and the port was fortified with a castle and other defence works as a protection against pirate raids. In 1597 the Torre Pretoria was built on a project by Francesco Masini, with the function of sighting post, military garrison and port administration. It was a huge construction on 3 floors, 20 mt high, at the end of the eastern pier.

The port was mainly a trading center with other Adriatic towns, and the fishing activity grew only in the 19th century with the immigration of many families from the port Chioggia.

An important event was the arrival of Giuseppe Garibaldi and his 5-month pregnant wife Anita, on 1-2 August 1849, who were escaping to Venice after the failure of the Roman Republic with 4,000 volunteers. Thanks to the help of the fishermen they were carried by boat to Venice, which was still fighting against the Austrians.

During WW2 Cesenatico suffered greatly, being along the Gothic line, and the many beautiful villas and hotels that had risen in the early 20th century were used as troop lodgings. The town was liberated by a New Zealand division on 20 October 1944. After the war, the tourist industry rose again, and today it can host over 22,000 tourists.

What to see

  • The Porto Canale, created in the 16th century on a design by Leonardo da Vinci, with a floating museum of mariners' life, the Museo Galleggiante di Marineria.
  • The typical Piazzetta delle Conserve, the ancient fishing market, where it is still possible to see the old containers (called "conserve") excavated underground which were used to keep fished products under ice before selling.

Events and Festivities

  • First weekend in August, Festa di Garibaldi, with a palio called Palio di Cuccagna among the eight historical quarters of Cesenatico (Villalta, Borella, Cannucceto, Peep Madonnina, Ponente, Valona, Levante, Boschetto)
  • 14 August: the Grande Rustida, a fishermen's feast
  • 25 December to 6 January: the Presepe della Marineria, a crib with life-size statues placed on the ancient boats of the Museo della Marineria, with dozens of characters taken from mariners' life, such as the fisherman, the fishmonger, the piadina seller, dolphins, with clothes of the color of the sails and superb night lights.