Italy, a secret place to discover! It’s not the claim of the next promotional Italian Tourist Board campaign, but a real deal! Some of the most enchanting monuments and places in Italy cannot be visited. They are closed to public eyes. But every year and only for a couple of days, they live again thanks to FAI, a no profit association that cares about natural, artistic and historic Italian heritage. Classe Ancient PineWood Last Sunday, defying a foggy and rainy day, I went to visit an ancient Pinewood, a natural frame to the Adriatic Sea that once went from Reno River to Cervia, the town of the very famous sweet salt. It’s origin is lost in times. Centennial oak lived there, like the one I met here. One of the giants you can still see walking in the deep of the forest!
So why is it called pinewood forest and not oak forest? It’s a roman invention, as many other things in Romagna! The little town of Classe was one of the safest harbors in the coast,used by the romans. The word “classe” means “fleet”. They needed a lot of wood to build new ships and to repair old ones. So they thought it could be a very useful idea to plant maritime pines and let them exist together with ancient oaks. Classe Pinewood did not exist before them. Unfortunately the rests of the harbor are not open to the public due to long terms and unfinished restoration.
The result is this!
Entering the Pinewood is an emotion. Please, be silent and let the pines talk to you, whisper their stories, stretch as they would almost fall, bend over you to share their secrets, creak as they could break down and crash. Here Lord Byron and Oscar Wilde used to walk and do horse riding; Dante wrote about it in his Paradise, Boccaccio used it as a set for one of its novel. The well-kept paths of the forest lead you to the sea passing through a swamp called Ortazzo and Ortazzino, where, if you are lucky enough, you can see a lot of birds. Spring is the best period for that!
Every step smells of pine resin brought by the wind whistling. The cold day makes me want to rush away but, believe me, in summer this is a very crowded place where people gather to have some fresh and shady spot to rest! It’s pouring now, me and my friend Antonella, another blogger, decide to end our visit here, but I have another idea in mind! Cervia: the ideal town This town reminds me happy and joyful days spent with friends. It was our favorite destination in Summer: beautiful beaches to lay down in the sun, having our best time. Didn’t even imagine this little town had so much to tell. FAI Open Day and the wonderful guides gave me the chance to learn more.
Cervia or better Ficocle, this was the ancient name of the town, given buy a Greek conqueror who founded the town. Actually some old documents tell us another history about this name. It was the ancient way to call a special plant of the water similar to hay taken off once a year from the channels of salt to free the flow of water.
Salt was the real deal, for many ages the only way to keep food safe! Arriving from Classe to Cervia you won’t probably enjoy the show of birds and flamingos in the water areas near Cervia. But if you have time, drive along the SS 16 and turn right, without entering the town. Stop near this house, who was the old custom, and start breathing the salty air around. Choose the early morning or the sunset, to have the best light, without the noise of the cars passing by.
In the XVII century, after a plenty period of pirats assaults, damages, kidnappings, malaria epidemic, Pope Innocenzo XII decided to build a new town. A very rational one, you can see it from the original plan!
A fortress to keep people and salt ( the gold of the time) safe from the assault coming from the see, with a guarding tower and a warehouse! Inside, the houses of “salinari” and in the main square, opposite one another, the religious and political powers.
FAI gave us also the chance to visit the main hall with a perfect Liberty style roof, representing the official symbol of Cervia (a deer) and the four main activities of the town!
Some Tips Classe Pinewood is opened to the public, but it’s huge! If you want to visit it in a special way, ask www.atlantide.net to go there by electric boat or canoe. Spring is the best period Cervia is a very nice town, but the municipality hall is not opened! Anyway, just go around the town and visit the Salina Camillone, www.salinadicervia.it! Thanks to FAI for this day! www.fondoambiente.it