Originally called Ficocle, it was probably of Greek origin and was located midway from current Cervia and Ravenna. It is known that this originary settlement was destroyed in 709 by patrician Theodore for its alliance with Ravenna against the loyal Byzantines.
Later the centre was rebuilt in a more secure position, in the Salina. This medieval city grew until it was provided with three fortified entrances, a Palaces of Priors, seven churches and a castle (Rocca) which, according to the legend, was built by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. The name also changed from Ficocle to Cervia, probably referring to the Acervi, great amounts of salt left in the local evaporation pods. After a long series of events, it became part of the Papal States.
As the time passed, the salt pod turned into a marsh, and on November 9, 1697 Pope Innocent XII ordered it to be rebuilt in a safer location. The new city had huge silos for storage of salt, containing up to 13,000 tons.
Nowadays, Cervia is a resort popular with German tourists. Almost no-one speaks English, so a phrase book will be necessary. Locals will be grateful and happy to see you at least trying to learn the language.
The only airport in Cervia itself is a military airport on its outskirts. However, Cervia can easily be reached by the Rimini International Airport in Rimini and the Forli Airport in Forli. Both cities are about an hour away from Cervia.
There is a train line that runs up and down the Adriatic coast, reaching from Ravenna in the north, passing through Cervia and Rimini, and ending with Ancona in the Marche region.
Cervia is very small, and you can walk around the city center. Most people use bicycles, and you can rent one in a number of shops. To get to Milano Marittima, the boutique district of Cervia, you can use a bike, but it is also very easy to reach it by foot. The canal divides the center of Cervia and the sea from Milano Marittima.
Lounge on the renowned beaches. Known as Il Mare, it is divided into bagni, which are essentially bars and stretches of beach owned by people. The most famous by far is the Bagno Fantini, which has an astounding number of world-class facilities, including a spa.
During the winter, Cervia essentially closes up shop. The population falls drastically, and it becomes a ghost town.
Dance in Milano Marittima's interesting nightlife. There are several clubs and bars in this chic area, regarded as one of the best places for nightlife in the whole region.
Watch hundreds of types of birds and mammals in the Parco Naturale. Here you can tour the wildlife, which has birds and deer, along with other typical wildlife of Cervia.
Take a stroll in La Pineta, the extremely long stretch of woods that starts up in Ravenna and ends just outside Cesena, in the south of the region.
For boutique shopping, Milano Marittima is definitely the best place. You can find the best designer brands here (D&G, Gucci, Armani, etc.). For tourist souvenirs, the center of Cervia is best, along with the seaside.
Cervia has a number of very good restaurants. For typical cuisine from Romagna, La Paia is an excellent restaurant with a traditional ambience on the outskirts of the city. For fish, a staple of the Cervia diet, Lo Scoglio, on the banks of the canal, is exquisite. Genny is an alternative.
In Milano Marittima, there are many expensive restaurants. Il Caminetto, undoubtedly one of the best seafood restaraunts in the area, is located here. Beware though: you might want to bring a very big amount of money if you wish to dine here. Peter Pan is a very good pizzeria in Milano Marittima, that has reasonable prices.
Milano Marittima is the center of the clubbing scene. The city center has no nightlife whatsoever, while Milano Marittima is full of top-class bars and nightclubs. In the summer, the streets and clubs are alive with energy. You will be guaranteed a lot of fun in these clubs. They are not particularly dangerous.
In the city center, there are only budget options. On the seaside, there are several 3 star hotels, like the Hotel Roma, which was recently expanded. The Grand Hotel Cervia is a 4-star hotel on the beachside. It is easily recognizable with its unique fountain and tall building. In Milano Marittima, you can find several luxurious options. However, these are usually outrageously expensive. Among these are the Hotel Palace, Hotel Athena, Hotel Le Palme, Hotel Fenice, and the Hotel Imperiale.