of Cervia

The historical sources to Cervia are rather scarce. Not least because the history of the city is shrouded in a fog of mystery.

Probably the place is ancient Greek origin. Legend has it that Cervia was founded by the Emperor Barbarossa.


Originally the town was called Ficocle. With the times the name was changed to its present name. Some say because there were so many deers in the surrounding woods (lat. cervus means deer) as you can easily see on their coat of arms.

More likely is that the name comes from the huge piles of salt (Acervi), which was (an still is) won here in large quantities in salt pans. A salt pile in the coat of arms would certainly not have been as representative. Anyway…

Salt Festival Cervia

Salzfest in Cervia

Because of its purity the Salt from Cervia counts among the best in Italy. Due to its high sodium chloride content (> 97%) it does not taste bitter.

So the Salt Festival takes place annually at the first weekend in September.

A city on the move

The city of Cervia was originally not where it stands today: In 709 it was razed to the ground by Esarca Teodoro. Then it was rebuilt up right in the middle of the salt pans on the Prato della Rosa. But this place turned out to be sub-optimal "thanks" to the climatic conditions, because the pans had been converted into marshes, which, at the bottomline, wiped out most of the population over time.

Around 1630, the population became increasingly unhappy about the unfortunate situation. So Cervia resettled again on 9th of November in 1697, at the behest of Pope Innocent XII.

This time the place was chosen well. And if Cervia has not moved yet again, it is there today.

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