Municipality in the province of Forli-Cesena in Emilia-Romagna

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Population: 26,000 (Cesenaticensi in Italian)

Specialities: fish from the Adriatic, kebabs, fried fish, passatelli with broth (typical pasta from Romagna), cuttlefish with peas, mussels, squacquerone from Romagna.

Personalities: Marco Pantani (cycling), Giorgio Ghezzi, Azeglio Vicini (football). Marino Moretti (poet). 

Sport: CCS Granatta, AS Cesenatico Chimicart. Competitions: Easter International Regatta (sailing). Stages in the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.

Culture and festivals: Maritime Museum, beaches. Il Pesce fa Festa (November). Notte Rossa (July), Fête du mât de cocagne (July), Fête Garibaldi (August), Rustida dei Pescatori (August). Concerti alla Alba (summer concerts), Notturni alle Conserve.

Economy: tourism, fishing.

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It was in Cesenatico, the ancient port of Cesena, that Marco Pantani (see below) grew up and discovered his passion for cycling. It is also the birthplace of Dalia Muccioli, Italian road champion in 2013.  This seaside resort on the Adriatic has hosted the Giro ten times, most recently in 2020, when Ecuador's Jhonatan Narvaez won solo. The Marco Pantani Memorial has been held in the city since 2004. Its last winner in 2023 was Alexey Lutsenko. In May takes place the Granfondo Nove Colli, a very popular granfondo.  


Marco Pantani's reputation as a "pirate" was fully justified when he rode up the mountains, a bandana over his bald head. His floppy ears also earned him the nickname elefantino (little elephant). This elephant was pink in the spring of 1998 and yellow in the summer of the same year, when the climber from Cesena won one of the most controversial editions of the Tour de France, that of the Festina affair. While he was certainly an outstanding climber, the Italian also became one of the symbols of a dark era for cycling, plagued by doping. His death in Rimini in 2004 reflected that period. The seventh and last rider to complete the Tour de France-Giro double in the same year, Marco Pantani did not stay at the top for long. In 1999, on the eve of winning a second Giro d'Italia, he was banned from finishing the race because his haematocrit level was too high, a measure considered to indicate that he had taken EPO. A natural climber, he first came to prominence in the amateur ranks when he won the Baby Giro and made a name for himself in 1994 by winning two stages in the Giro d'Italia. That same year, he attacked on all the mountain passes in the Tour de France, finishing on the podium (3rd) and the best young rider in the race. The following year, he won some of the most prestigious mountain stages on his own, at l'Alpe d'Huez, where he set a record for the fastest ascent at the time, and at Guzet-Neige. A traffic accident kept him out of the 1996 season. His comeback in 1997 took him back on the Tour podium, with another victory at Alpe d'Huez. 1998 was his big year: he overtook Switzerland's Alex Zülle and then Russia's Pavel Tonkov to win the Giro, and lined up for the Tour in ambush behind the favourite, Jan Ullrich. Initially trailing the defending champion, he gradually made up ground in the mountains before annihilating the German in a soggy stage between Grenoble and Les Deux Alpes. Several of his rivals, including Richard Virenque and Alex Zülle, were caught up in the Festina affair at the start of the race. The pirate's career took a turn for the worse two days before the finish of the 1999 Giro, when his haematocrit level exceeded the authorised limit by two points. He cried conspiracy, but his dreams of greatness were shattered. The end of his career took the form of a rollercoaster. In fits and starts, he rediscovered his passion, as in the 2000 Tour, where he won at Mont Ventoux and Courchevel, before launching an attack on the road to Morzine and retiring the next day. On 6 June 2001, the carabinieri raided the Giro riders' hotels in San Remo.


  • Maritime museum

Opening: 1983

History: in 1977, the traditional boats that bear witness to the history of Cesenatico's fishing and trading port came under threat. The canal port redesigned by Leonardo da Vinci, where the life of the small town is concentrated, had to give way to a car park. It was therefore decided to preserve those boats, as well as the buildings associated with the town's maritime past. In 1983, following intensive work to identify, acquire and restore vessels, the museum opened its floating section in the canal port, comprising twelve restored traditional fishing units. Two of them are intended to sail to keep alive the practices linked to their history. In 2005, in conjunction with local residents, associations and the town, a building was constructed to house the museum on land, on the edge of the canal port. This section of the museum houses other ships and numerous objects grouped together in a permanent exhibition, which is supported by a whole range of related activities (exhibitions, workshops…).  

  • Cesenatico beaches

Cesenatico's beaches stretch for 7 continuous kilometres from Gatteo a Mare to the beaches of Cervia, on average 150-metres wide. They are made up of fine sand and equipped with beach facilities (bar-restaurant, parasol, sun loungers, cabins, children's play area, surveillance, etc.). There is only around 1 km of free beach towards Cervia and the beaches reserved for holiday camps.  

  • Spazio Pantani

The Spazio Pantani next to the railway station opened to the public at the beginning of 2006. It houses a museum containing "relics", bicycles and objects that once belonged to cycling champion Marco Pantani.  

  • Piazza Delle Conserve

The "conserves", a type of icehouse, take the form of a truncated cone-shaped shaft with an opening a few metres in diameter and a low wall that protrudes a metre above the ground. They were common on the Romagna coast from the 16th century onwards, and the municipality of Cesenatico had around twenty of them up until the 1930s. The fish was placed in alternating layers of snow or ice collected at the start of winter, then covered with a layer of earth or sand to provide insulation, and finally with a final layer of packed snow. Fish treated in this way could be kept until July. These 'preserves' enabled fish to be eaten and traded during the winter months, when it was impossible to go out to sea. Three of these wells have now been restored, one inside an original building and the other two in the open air. They can be seen in the small vegetable market square known as Piazza Delle Conserve (Square of the conserves)


  • Squacquerone of Romagna

Squacquerone di Romagna is a fresh cheese made from pasteurised whole cow's milk. It is generally sold in pebbles weighing between 100 g and 2 kg. Squacquerone di Romagna has neither rind nor skin. It has a pearly white paste, a sticky, very creamy texture and a mild, slightly acidic flavour with a grassy note. It can only be produced in the provinces of Ravenna, Forlì-Cesena, Rimini, Bologna and in the south-east of the province of Ferrara, in Emilia-Romagna. The cows must be reared in these provinces and fed with at least 60 pc silage from these provinces.  


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