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The Saltworkers' village

The Saltworkers' village

The Borgo dei Salinari (Saltworkers' town area) is included inside the ancient walls of Old Cervia, but more properly it builds up an extension of these walls.

The houses located along the perimeter of the Quadrilatero, built between 1698 and 1708, and those included in Borgo Saffi, built between 1790 and 1813, were designed to accommodate the families of saltworkers employed by the Papal State.

The saltworkers themselves contributed to the building of the town, thus acquiring the right – which could be passed on from father to son – to housing free of charge. This privilege was granted until 1953, when the Monopolio di Stato management wrote off all of these rights.

The original project stipulated that there should be no empty spaces between houses in the Quadrilatero; after completing the first of the four sides, on the contrary, the decision was taken to add a small courtyard between the houses on the other three sides, thus transforming the original square-shaped town plan into a 270 x 170 m rectangle.

There was room for 48 dwellings along the Quadrilatero; each house consisted of eight rooms, in almost all cases shared by four families.

From the outside the town looked like a fortress: as a matter of fact there were no doors, only windows with strong iron bars.

However, after the salt workers’ houses had been built along the Quadrilatero, not all the families had a home.

In 1790, construction work was started on the Borgo dei Salinari, also known as Borgo Saffi: the whole complex consisted of eight houses, four on each side of the road, with 96 rooms in total, plus toilets and courtyards, divided into 48 flats.

Three important figures are associated with the building of Borgo Saffi: the supervisor Morelli, the designer Navone and the assistant Farini. Cosimo Morelli, from Imola, was a very famous architect, author of cathedrals and theatres in several Italian cities; his most famous work is probably Palazzo Braschi at Piazza Navona in Rome. The Borgo was designed by architect Francesco Navone from Rome, while the project assistant throughout the work was the expert architect Antonio Farini, who in earlier decades had planned and directed several construction, hydraulic and road works during his forty-year stay in Cervia.


Where: Borgo Aurelio Saffi, Cervia

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