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The villas of Milano Marittima

The villas of Milano Marittima

The first buildings in Milano Marittima: dreamy Art Nouveau villas for the middle and upper middle classes of Lombardy, surrounded by the green of the pine forest and the blue of the sea.

Villini Frutti di mare

The history of Milano Marittima began in 1907 when Cervia was still a small town of fishermen and salt miners, but was beginning to look towards tourism.

The idea that Palanti had envisioned when he took over the construction of his "garden city" was that of a holiday area designed for the upper and middle classes of Milan. The dream took hold in 1911 with the foundation of the "Milano Marittima" company, aimed at enhancing the value of Cervia's beaches.

The initial project, based on the model of Milanino, a garden city that had already been built in Milan in 1908, envisaged a park at the centre from which a series of avenues would radiate out, from which others would branch off in the direction of the sea.

Villa Maiolatesi

The master plan for the new city was conceived with the idea of harmonising architecture and nature: the pine forest would act as a natural garden for the villas, which would be built near the beach and would form a natural part of the landscape. These included Palanti's own villa, which can still be admired today at the end of Via 2 Giugno, on the corner of Via Toti.

14 August 1912 marked the official birth of the town, the year in which the first small villas were built, including that of Palanti and Tempini. Although work was halted due to the outbreak of the Great War, it resumed in the 1920s.

In 1927, after the First World War, the company founded by Palanti joined forces with CIVAM (Cooperativa Italiana Villini Alloggi al Mare e al Monte), leading to further growth of Milano Marittima and the construction of new villas, many of which have now been demolished to build condominiums and hotels.

Today, as then, Milano Marittima is considered an important tourist centre on the Romagna Riviera, a town that attracts tourists from all over Europe every year.

The villas today

Some of the remaining villas are hotels or private homes that cannot be visited, but their neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau architecture can be admired. One exception is Villa Carlotta (1926), transformed into the Ottocento ice-cream parlour in Milano Marittima, which retains its original, slightly modified interior.

Although many villas are now a memory, those still visible are:

  • Villa Malagola (1925), located on the Don Minzoni roundabout and characterised by its liberty-style turret
  • Villa Capanna or Capannina, located on the corner of Viale V. Veneto and Viale Carducci with a lower structure and a curious inverted V-shaped roof
  • Villa Maiolatesi, originally with a turret adorned with frescoes, and Villa Colmegna, both located near the Pousada.
  • Villa "Il Pagliaio" in Via F. Petrarca, which still retains its original shape
  • Villa Perelli, which is distinguished from the others by its rationalist style and the high round tower supported by five columns that gives a panoramic view of the surrounding sea and pine forest
  • Villa Palanti, one of the seven villas built before the outbreak of World War I and the only one that still retains its original appearance.

Finally, there is an interesting trace of what was once Villa Egle. In its place is now the Hotel Terminus, but the original inscription is still visible on the two columns of the entrance gate at the beginning of Viale Cadorna.

The villas saved in memories

In addition to the villas mentioned above, there are eleven other villas built between 1912 and 1939 of which we have been able to obtain photos and information thanks to libraries, town plans and historical archives:

  • Villa La Buscarola was located close to the current Rotonda Don Minzoni, today it is replaced by the Faraone block of flats.
  • Ville Bianchi: initially painted red and then blue, the two villas had a pronaos with four white columns; today they are replaced by the Hotel Flora in viale Due Giugno
  • Villa Lombardozzi purchased in 1925 by the Lombardozzi family. Today it is replaced by the Hotel Alexander
  • Villino Facheris built in 1914 by Senator G. Facheris, was later purchased by G. Gavazzi. It was located between today's viale Cadorna, viale Due Giugno and viale Toti, where today there is the Hotel Globus and an apartment building.
  • Villa Duna was the small villa furthest from the beach, and was initially called "Villino azzurro"; it later became Villa Duna because it was built on a high dune. Today there are terraced houses in its place.
  • Villa Valzania was located in Viale Milano and was transformed into the Eden Hotel; after the Second World War, however, the hotel was abandoned for several years and no longer exists.
  • Villa Bernè was located in the place of the apartment building Romagna in Viale Romagna
  • Villini Frutti di Mare (Granchio, Medusa, Cavalluccio Marino) were a group of villas from the 1930s


 The 10 types of villas envisaged for the design of the Garden City:


Progetto villini Milano Marittima


Sources: calendar 2020 Romagna Antica, An itinerary to discover the historic villas of Milano Marittima

Thesis by Thomas Melai, The birth of Milano Marittima. The residential settlement, the villini

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