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Lighthouse

Lighthouse

Built to replace an old lighthouse, now too far from the sea to function because of the changes in the coastline.

Built in 1875, the lighthouse was designed by the head of the Municipal Technical Department, engineer Ferdinando Forlivesi.

Even though its overall appearance has been preserved, over time the lighthouse has changed remarkably: its height was increased a first time in 1918, following the construction of rather tall buildings nearby, then a second time to repair damage suffered during World War II. Originally it produced a steady white light, which was then turned to intermittent it to make it more distinguishable from the increasing public illumination; finally it was placed on "stand-by" and replaced by two electronic lights on the head of the piers.

A canal harbour has always existed in Cervia, ever since the salt flats have been there, in order to ensure salt transport. The earliest reliable information concerning a lighthouse here, however, dates back only to 1708. A deed drawn up by a public notary confirms that a long iron bar was placed inside the walls of the Torre S. Michele, on the top right-hand corner, to support the lantern which was lit at night to show sailors where to moor. In 1691, when the Tower was built, the sea was about one hundred meters away, but the alluvial process, which had been going on for centuries, kept extending the land area, with the beach receding by about 3 m a year, thus making it necessary to extend the harbour oar length. Therefore in 1756, following a project by the expert Antonio Farini, a sturdy two-storey building was constructed about 300 metres from the Tower with a three-arch porch. In the middle, on the ceiling, stood a tall turret which contained the lantern-light. For a whole century this was the Cervia lighthouse, referred to in official documents as “Casino di Sanità”. Later on it was used as office and barracks by the Tax Police, and partly for private housing.

The word “faro” comes from the isle of Pharos, in front of Alexandria in Egypt, where in the 3rd century B.C. a tower was built with a large fire constantly lit, to make sure that sailors could see the seabed and navigate the Mareotide swamp behind.


Where:
Via Nazario Sauro, Cervia

Admission: it is not possible to visit it

 

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