The origins of the Cervia lighthouse

The first known lighthouse was built in Alexandria in Egypt (on the island of Pharos) in the third century BC. to help sailors at night. This very high tower in which the fire burned perpetually was clearly visible from far away.

Between a walk by the sea and a visit to the historic center or to the Mu.Sa. (Museo del Sale), the Cervia lighthouse is an unmissable stop.

Since ancient times, the production of salt in Cervia has made the city an important port on the Adriatic, where the boats that transported this precious food arrived throughout the Roman Empire.

In 1691, when the S. Michele Tower was built, the sea was about a hundred meters away but the alluvial process, which had been going on for centuries, continued to expand the territory, moving the shoreline away on average by about 3 m per year and making it necessary to lengthen the port shovels. From 1708 we can read in the maps that in the S. Michele Tower, at the top, in the north corner, a long iron was walled to support the lantern which was exposed at night to signal the landing point to sailors.

For this reason in 1756 a robust two-storey building was built about 300 meters from the Tower. In the center, on the roof, rose a high turret that carried the lantern-lighthouse at the top. For a whole century this was the lighthouse of the port of Cervia, called “Casino di Sanità” in official documents.

The lighthouse seen today was built in 1875, is 16 meters high, has a light range of 14 miles and was designed by the head of the municipal technical office ing. Ferdinando Forlivesi.

Its appearance has remained more or less intact, but has actually been changed twice: once it was raised to compensate for the tall buildings they had built around it, and a second time when they repaired the damage suffered during the second war world.

Initially it had a fixed white light, which then became intermittent, to distinguish it from the ever-increasing glare of public lighting, and finally it was “put to rest” and replaced by two electronic lights at the head of the piers.

If you are lucky you can visit the inside of the lighthouse during one of the rare occasions when it is open. Alternatively, I recommend that you sit in the harbor area, breathe the healthy air and enjoy the quiet of the sea, imagining the journeys of ancient navigators who ventured to unknown lands.

Where: Via Nazario Sauro, Cervia

Entrance: not open to visitors