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A Walk Around Cesena, Italy

written by Penny Sadler

In last weeks post, Finding Peace in Bertinoro, I mentioned a recent trip to the Province of Forli/Cesena in the region of Emilia Romagna, Italy.

Next, let’s head to Cesena, a city between the Apennines and the Adriatic sea. My first glimpse of Cesena confirmed what I had read – it is a prosperous city that loves art and culture, and is proud of its heritage.

A Walk Around Cesena, @PennySadler 2013

Cesena is a treasure of architectural and historical interest, and the monuments and buildings are well preserved. You will not see peeling paint or a lot of graffiti decorating the doorways and walls.

A walk around Cesena Italy, @PennySadler 2013

When visiting Cesena a name you will hear over and over is Malatesta. Why? Because the history of Cesena is the history of the Malatesta family who developed the city (1400 – 1500s) and built two of the most important monuments there today, the Biblioteca Malatestiana and La Rocca.

Let’s take a walk through Cesena – the perfect way to absorb this absolute jewel in Romagna.

Beginning in Piazza del Popolo you will find the Palazzo Vecchio, which adjoins the walls of La Rocca, the old Malatestiana fortress. Every other Saturday there is a large outdoor market and like most markets in Italy, it is quite crowded and lively. Market days are a great way to discover the local culture and meet new people. You will also find the tourist information office under the loggia of the Palazzo Vecchio. You can’t miss it as it’s painted a wonderful ocher color with a huge clock face in

A Walk in Cesena Italy City Hall, @Pennysadler 2013

Directly in front of Palazzo Vechhio, you will see an intricately carved fountain, Fontana Masini, built of white marble imported from Istria. It is a popular meeting spot for both the locals and the local pigeons!

A Walk around Cesena @PennySadler 2013

From Piazza del Popolo, window shop as you walk down Via del Zeffrino Re to Via Mazzini, then turn right to go to Teatro Alessandro Bonci in Piazza Giudazzi.

A Walk Around Cesena in Cesena, Italy. Teatro Bonci @PennySadler 2013

The theater facade is a neoclassical design in the style of La Scala in Milan. The people of Cesena take their arts and culture seriously. They were such enthusiastic theater goers that the original theater
was replaced by Teatro Bonci, as it was too small for the size of the audiences.

Be sure to check the website for hours of operation, so you can get a glimpse of the stunning interior. It has undergone a recent renovation and it’s really quite grand.

A Walk Around Cesena, Cesena, Teatro Bonci, @PennySadler 2013

Walk back towards Piazza Almerici and stop to admire the facade of Palazzo Ridotto. Once the meeting place of the aristocracy of Cesena, the facade, renovated in the late 1700s by Cosimo Morelli, is said to be one of the best examples of Italian architecture of the 1800s. That’s Pope Pius VI in the center waving at everyone. He is one of three pope who were born in Cesena.

A walk around Cesena, Italy, palazzo ridotto, @PennySadler 2013

Behind Piazza Almerici, you will find the Biblioteca Malatestiana. If you don’t do anything else in Cesena be sure to visit this library! Biblioteca Malatesiana was the first public library in Europe and
it remains perfectly intact as it was when it was built in the fifteenth century in spite of wars, fires and the occupation of Napoleon!

It is a living monument to the period before printing presses and the craftsmanship of the era.
You will want to be sure and arrange this in advance as only a particular number of people are allowed at one time in the library in order to control the humidity and protect the precious contents. It is worth the effort!

A Walk around Cesena, interior Library Malatestiana @PennySadler 2013

It looks more like a small church, with a central nave outlined by tall white columns on each side, and flanked by stained glass windows. The windows were specifically placed to provide good reading light.

The reading benches are the original wood and have the Malatesta crest on the side. They look like church pews, but notice the chains which bind the books to the benches. This was not a lending library, but a place where anyone could come to read and study.

Book benches A walk around Cesena. @PennySadler 2013

From the UNESCO World Heritage Memory of the World register, I found this description:

Besides amassing the great works of medieval culture, Malatesta Novello collected the fruits of the classical Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Arab traditions so that he could realize his project of a universal culture along humanist lines. The precious 343 codices are still in the place where they have lain for the past five centuries.”

Honestly, it’s worth the visit to Cesena all on its own.

Now walk back to Piazza del Popolo and up a rather steep hill to visit La Rocca Malatestiana.

@Traveling with Sweeney

Built around the 11th century near the remains of previous fortresses – it was the perfect place to see out over the valley and protect the town from invaders – or at least see them coming for miles.

Today the two interior towers how the museum of agriculture and a ceramics museum.
Agriculture is the most important business in Emilia Romagna, so a visit here is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture.

La Rocca is surrounded by a lovely park and makes a great place to spend several hours enjoying a picnic and views all the way to the Adriatic Sea. You can also walk around the exterior walls, much like the walls in Lucca, Italy.

Cesena, Italy @PennySadler 2013

In upcoming posts I will write more about the food and wine of Forli/Cesena. Have you been to this region of Italy?

Thanks to my friend and co-blogger Catherine Sweeney for the lovely exterior shot of La Rocca.

“This post was a part of Buonvivere Blog Tour, organized by Settimana del Buonvivere in collaboration with 21grammy.

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Gregory C December 11, 2013 at 5:35 am

Hi Penny, – Firstly i love this post & i love reading your blog! 🙂 I have to echo the sentiments & remarks about this post. Cesena looks captivating and possess a unique charm indeed, your words & pictures tell a captivating story of this beautiful place. I will be sure to visit Cesena the next time i travel to Italy… Thank you for the introduction 🙂

Penny Sadler April 10, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Greg thanks for being a fan. 🙂 Cesena is lovely and I do hope you will make it there soon!

Larissa November 17, 2013 at 6:26 pm

I have never heard of this town. . . but now I must go!!!

Mary @ Green Global Travel November 9, 2013 at 4:13 pm

I love market days and look forward to them each week. I feel like meeting the locals and shopping like a local gives me a better feel for a place. Cesena looks wonderful.

Micki @ The Barefoot Nomad November 8, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Cesena looks like such a lovely place from your photos, and @Andrea’s recommendation about the food makes it even more appealing. I’d love to visit one day!

wanderingeducators November 6, 2013 at 4:17 pm

What an incredibly beautiful place!

Cat of Sunshine and Siestas November 6, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Looks so quaint! I’m really enjoying seeing your photography evolve, too.

Penny Sadler November 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Thanks for noticing Cat.

Kathryn November 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Ahh – pics of Italy always make it look soooooo relaxing.

Island traveler November 5, 2013 at 1:58 am

Magical place. Adventure so amazing with each and very turn. Thanks for sharing.

Andrea October 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm

I was born in Cesena and I still live here. I’m very happy to see someone from far away is interested in the town i love. If anyone is interested I can tell more and more things about Cesena, and on the best kitchen of Italy. Really, Romagna is known to find the best food you can taste in Italy… Write me if you’re interested. Andrea

Penny Sadler November 6, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Andrea, I’m really happy for someone from Cesena to read my story. I’d love to talk with you more about the food!

Alessandra April 10, 2014 at 11:24 am

Thanks Penny, I’m taking my time to look at all the posts you ladies wrote, remembering the good times. To Andrea: I’m a destination blogger, blogging only about Romagna. I knew almost all of the bloggers engaged in the trip and it was a real fun to share my area with them. Hope I will have the chance to have them again here. Do not be amazed about that!

Penny Sadler April 10, 2014 at 12:30 pm

I loved Romagna Alessandrea. I also hope we’ll all be able to meet up again!

Nicole | The Wondernuts October 28, 2013 at 1:53 pm

What a gorgeous city! When we went to Venice, there were a ton of people. So many (but it was also August). But it was fascinating because you’re literally walking in history. Buildings are historical. The canals are historical. Just plain gorgeous and amazing. =)

Dale October 28, 2013 at 5:27 am

Unfortunately I’ve never been to Cesena, though I have just this summer been through Emilia Romagna. Maybe next time I should steer myself in that direction 🙂

Penny Sadler October 28, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Never enough time to see it all!

Alessandra April 10, 2014 at 11:28 am

Dale, I can imagine. But remember that Romagna is not only Rimini! It is the hills of the Savio Valley, going to Umbria, it is the Tusca Romagna, going to Tuscany It is wine and not only Sangiovese, Albana or Trebbiano, but also Burson, for example! Glad to help you discover more! Follow the sheep of 21grammy!

The Tin Man October 26, 2013 at 9:45 am

What a wonderful and interesting city! I so enjoyed visiting Biblioteca Malatestiana with you. What an incredible place………..the chains on the books was fascinating! Can’t wait to hear about the culinary wonders!

Penny Sadler October 26, 2013 at 9:48 am

Just repeat after me, wine, sangiovese, albani, wine….

Cathy Sweeney October 25, 2013 at 11:43 am

I thought that Cesena was a super interesting city (as you’ve shown well in this post) and I’d love to visit again. The theater is absolutely gorgeous inside. Love the shot you got there. Thanks for the mention, too.

Penny Sadler October 25, 2013 at 6:16 pm

I could have spent a few days. I think it would make a great base to visit Emilia Romagna.

Cacinda Maloney October 25, 2013 at 10:33 am

Lovely article about a lovely town!


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