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The Canal Harbour

The Canal Harbour

Built as a point for salt loading, the Cervia canal harbour today is one of the best equipped tourist ports along the Romagna Riviera.

Canal Harbour, Cervia - Ph. Giacomo Ricci


The harbour was built around an artificial canal, the Salt Pans Canal, which in the past served two purposes: it connected the salt flats to the sea, guaranteeing their production line, and it was used to load and carry by sea the salt harvested.

The major function of the harbour was thus salt loading: Cervia was a meeting point between land and maritime markets.
Until the first half of the nineteenth century, conditions in the harbour were such that continuous maintenance was required. Some drawings discovered recently show that the San Michele Tower and the adjacent warehouse were built on the sea shore; over the past three hundred years the coastline has moved forward by about one km. the situation was dealt with simply by making the dock longer using the pine tree trunks to construct the so-called palate.

Canal Harbour, Cervia - Ph. Andrea Lucchi



In a short time the Cervia canal became a stable mooring point for fishermen from Chioggia and Goro, who starting from the end of the nineteenth century established a community isolated from life in Cervia: Borgo Marina had its own commercial life, taverns, shops and a marine identity different from the salt harvesting culture. The fishermen’s area was not extraneous to the tourism development along its borders for long, leading to the creation of the tourist dock. In the twentieth century, interest started to develop also in pleasure yachting.


Harbour, See Wedding


Since 1445 in Cervia, the “Sposalizio del Mare” takes place every year. The celebration is apparently connected to an event dating back to when Pietro Barbo, Bishop of Cervia, on his way back from Venice was caught by a storm and decided to offer his ring as pledge to the sea, thus saving himself and the crew. Since then, on Ascension day, the blessing of the water and the “marriage” to the sea celebrated: the Bishop throws the wedding ring far at sea, which has to be retrieved by a group of young people from Cervia. Finding the ring is a good omen for luck and prosperity.


Where: Via Nazario Sauro


Canal Harbour, Cervia - Ph. Bikfalvi Istvan

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