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Birth and development of Milano Marittima

Birth and development of Milano Marittima

The history and development of Milano Marittima, the Garden City, since the early 20th century

The birth of the Garden City


The 'birth' and development of Milano Marittima began in the first part of the twentieth-century, when Cervia was a small city with 9000 inhabitants and had a backward economy based mostly on the harvesting of salt, agriculture and fishing. Most of its population were illiterate and there was a high level of unemployment.
In the last twenty years of the nineteenth century there were some pioneers who began to look at developing tourism in the area, which was helped by the improvement of health and sanitary conditions in the area, and the development of the railway. The first railway line started in 1884 and ran between Ravenna and Cervia, and then in 1889 a line from Ferrara - Ravenna - Rimini was opened.

It was the first beach establishment built in 1882 which placed Cervia on the map as a seaside resort.

The link between Cervia and Milan

In 1907 a rapport between Cervia's city council and the Maffeis, an important bourgoise family from Milano, began. The city council gave a large, run- down area to the Lombardy-based group on the grounds that they develop a new seaside zone which included homes, villas, parks and gardens. From this came Milano Marittima, a name which significantly shows the area's ties with Milan. On the 1st of June, 1911, a new group, the Society Milano Marittima for the Development of the Beach in Cervia, began. It's members included commendatory Napoleone Tempini, Aldo Tagliazucchi, the senator Giovanni Facheris, the lawyer Alberto Redenti, Felice Bianchi, Giuseppe Galli and the painter and commercial artist Giuseppe Palanti.

The Garden City takes shape

Seafront of Milano MarittimaIt was Palanti, who followed the theory of Ebernezer Howard regarding a 'Garden City' - a unique urban development project -- who designed the development of a new city where the residences for tourists were required to blend in harmoniously with the surrounding nature. The plans called for a modern, vacation city for middle and upper-class people from Lombardy, where the villas were built in the surrounding pinewoods. Of these the home of Palanati, one of the first to be built, can still be seen in Via 2 Giugno (on the corner of Via Toti).

A new 'beginning' had begun, and although the construction of this area was stopped during World War I, it started soon again after the war in the 1920's. On the 20th of October 1927 Cervia was recognised, by a ministerial decree, as a 'centre for health/medical care, a place to stay and a centre for tourism' - thanks also to the addition of the new 'city' Milano Marittima. With this decree, 1927 saw the start of a major construction programme which added to the number of villas already under construction, a new series of hotels, colonies, restaurants, pubs and bars.
Milano Marittima, Villa of Giuseppe Palanti

A hotel with a capital H

Of the innumerable hotels in the area one deserves a special mention. The 'Mare e Pineta', built in 1928, offers over 100 rooms, impeccable service, luxurious comfort and a beautiful, spacious terrace where one can hold various parties. The presence of tennis courts and excellent service on its beach has made it one of the major reference points for tourism in Milano Marittima. It has also
been home to many important events and celebrations. The development of tourism grew significantly in the '30's but was once again interrupted by the Second World War. Construction continued after the war and
this subsequent intense development has made Milano Marittima one of Italy's main holiday seaside resorts.

Albergo Mare PinetaA bit of history

Do you know when the first hotels in Cervia and Milano Marittima were built?

  • Hotel Nettuno in 1926
  • Hotel Mare e Pineta in 1927
  • Grand Hotel in 1931

The first large holiday camps date back to the 1920s and 1930s. Among them: the Dante colony in Cervia, the Varese, Montecatini and Mantovana colonies in Milano Marittima.


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