For most of the people who visit Cesenatico for the first time, the main thing to remember is the magnificent exposition of ancient boats, testifying the history of this very contended and strategic harbor.
But for me, who spent my childhood here, running in the smooth sand of the beach and destroying friends sand castles with my feet, Cesenatico is a special set of memories, coming up from my grown up girl mind.
Today I decided to explore “the other side”! Well, not exactly the wild one, but just the one where fishermen are the protagonists every day. Cesenatico had once about one thousand fishing boats, one of the hugest fleets of the area, not considering Venice, Chioggia and Ancona. Fishermen used to move from these towns to Cesenatico to find a better way of living and working.
Women often found their beloved man among those strong and capable people: they worked in the harbor waiting for the boats to come back early in the morning, to repair the nets with their little but fast hands, while children were playing near, watching their fathers working.
Hard old times, where the hand work was necessary and precious for men’s out in the sea. And that’s why “cesenaticensi” ( so they call people born here) have unusual surnames, finding their origins from different towns in Italy.
I took the Mirco ferry boat to pass the channel; 40 cents to go from one side to the other. Barely the only quick way to use when you do not have the car.
You land at “Squero”, an old venetian word that indicates the place where oar boats were built and repaired.
Take the right side to find the fish market: fish auctions are held every day for private people, restaurants arriving to buy fresh fish at the best price.
The harbor has now less boats then it used to have; fishermen are less but still with an inner passion that make them wake up every day to go out in the sea and return to clean and repair their boats.
I took the chance to talk with some of them. “It’s a hard work, today even more than in the past. Last night for example, very few went out because of the bad sea, it was a stormy night”.
Keep on going to the ultimate point of the harbor, you will meet a woman with two children, waiting their husband and father to come back. Quinto Pagliarani (I will write about him later) is a local artist working as a car mechanic, but with talented hands able to design and realize very big and impressive statues. This piece of art is one of the symbol of Cesenatico.
I kept on strolling around, but returning to the ferry boat I was captured by an old and wrinkled face, behind a wall. Two men were sitting outside a warehouse, repairing a fishing net by hands as in old times. A new story to tell!
“Once women were the best to do this work: little and quick hands! My mother, told me one of the men, didn’t even need to look the net, she was so used to work that required anything more! Now the times have changed, no one is doing this job, but the fishermen themselves and even the net is done with automatic machines!”.
The day is almost finished, I could talk with these nice men for hours, watching them work with the ancient patience and the awareness of the importance of their work!