Museo della Marineria

May 22, 2008 / Local Interest
A small seaside town on the Adriatic coast of Italy, Cesenatico hosts quite a unique museum. In 1502 Leonardo da Vinci designed the harbor, the true heart of the town. As was his style, neither form nor function followed the other; the two came together perfectly. The wonderful harbor goes deep into the city and the tail end of it, in the core of the town, is now the floating portion of the Museo della Marineria (Seafaring Museum).

The beautiful sail fishing boats have been acquired by the city and restored to their original form. On fair weather days the sails will be put up in all of their wonderful traditional colors, derived by simple pigmenting agents like rust and mustard seeds. My favorite trait of the museum is that it tells stories of love and hope through those sails.

Up until the early 1900s, none of the boats going out on fishing trips had radios. The only way for the women to know whether their men would be making it back home was to stand at the end of the harbor and wait for the boats to sail back in. So, each boat would feature a different sail, each representing the symbol of a different family. From the distance, the women would be able to tell whether their family was making it back home. Photos from the era show large groups of women in black clothes and head scarves gathered together at the end of the harbor, looking out for the next sail, hoping for the safe return of their loved ones. A romantic museum, for sure!

First photo courtesy of the Comune di Cesenatico

by Vanessa DellaPasqua

Owner of Global Epicurean, a bespoke travel services provider organizing culinary trips to Romagna, and publisher of

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