Old Cervia map by Canon Senni

medusa la gorgone

In the last years of the seventeenth century, the original settlement of the city of Cervia, which had stood in the center of the salt pans, moved to a healthier area, near the coast, thanks to a decree by Pope Innocent XII. The tower and the salt warehouse had already been there for some years.

Within a little over a decade, no significant traces of the inhabited area remained, as all the materials were reused as building materials. The new generations lost the memory of the old city
To renew and preserve this memory, shortly before 1777, Pietro Sebastiano Senni (1715-1801), the first historian of Cervia, drew or had drawn a map of old Cervia, which donated to the community.

However, what Senni created is an ideal map which, as he explains in his work "Notizie di Cervia vecchia", is based on two types of sources, namely the memories of the older inhabitants of Cervia and a description, house by house, of the families who lived in the city created by his godfather, the canon Francesco Orlando Prondini in 1692.

The image shows a regular structure of the urban layout that we know from other sources does not correspond to reality. Along the streets, the houses of the inhabitants identified by numbers are arranged in a uniform way. Instead, the main public and religious buildings identified by letters are more characterized: the town hall in the central square, the cathedral and the cemetery on the access road from Porta Ravenna, the urban gates, the warehouses at the end of the canal port, the two convents citizens of San Francesco and Sant'Agostino, the fortress.

The legend located in the lower part of the map shows the list, taken from that of Prondini, of the buildings and families for each of which the reference number of the house in which they lived is indicated.

The map exhibited at MUSA is a 1:1 photographic reproduction made during the 2019 restoration work. The original one is kept in the Cervia Municipal Historical Archive.

Text by Cristina Poni