The "Conserve" Square of Cesenatico The Fishmonger's of Cesenatico

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The "Conserve" Square of Cesenatico

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One of the most typical places of Cesenatico is the Piazzetta delle Conserve (The "Conserve" Square) (1). An important renewal in the 80's has faithfully kept the old urban context of the square.

Known in the Adriatic seaside since the 1500, the first documents that mention the "conserve" - also called ghiacciae (iceboxes) - date from the 18th Century. These are structures of great importance to the economy of coastal cities and the the Marine Civilization of the Adriatic, since they were used for the preservation of foodstuffs, particularly fish.

Even if it is difficult to go back to the exact location of the "conserve" in Cesenatico, we know about a change of location of all the "iceboxes" to a sandy area called "il Monte", located on the east side of the canal.

The importance of the fish market as the main source of income for Cesenatico is clear by the number of "conserve" at the end of the 19th Century, when around twenty existed. They were used up to the first quarter of the 1900, until the installation of the first artificial ice factory between 1929 and 1930 meant that the traditional "conserve" were abandoned.
The "conserve" of Cesenatico are cone-shaped holes made of bricks, dug in the ground such as a well, 8 meters wide and 5 to 6 meters deep. They grow a little above the ground level with a round parapet, the hole being covered by bricks isolating the exterior by means of layers of straw, sand, wood roof and sometimes with a doubled door, to avoid the hot air coming in.

Fish and food were placed carefully inside the "conserve", alternated with layers of ice or compacted snow, assuring the preservation by means of freezing, a more modern method compared to the salting technique of meat and fish. The ice and snow usually came from the neighbouring hills or from the Apennines' region, transported on carts and gathered in appropriate tanks or canals. Some "conserve" were also used to collect ice, allowing fishermen to take the ice collected inside the "conserve" to their boats, and put it in the boxes with the fresh fish they had just fished and then put for sale. From the three remaining "conserve" of Cesenatico today, one is covered.

The Piazzetta delle Conserve, due to its central location in the old town of Cesenatico, has today acquired an important role in the social life, in the tourism and economy of the city. Continuing the traditional trade of old times, everyday in the morning the Farmer's Market takes place, selling fruit and vegetables from the local farms.

During summer the Flea's Market takes place, a display of arts and crafts, antiques and modern objects of art, while on Mondays the square becomes an open air place for entertainment with its Notturni alle Conserve evenings dedicated to classical music.

During Christmas time, a massive Nativity is staged, with life size statues.

A. Cocchi

Trad.:A. Sturmer


1) The "conserve" are cone shaped ice-holes which were filled with snow and ice to preserve fish.



 F. Santucci, Cesenatico, da porto di Cesena a Comune Edizioni Il ponte vecchio, Cesena, 1995
D. Gnola, Storia di Cesenatico Edizioni Il ponte vecchio, Cesena, 2001
D. Gnola, Cesenatico nella storia Edizioni Il ponte vecchio Cesena, 2008
M. MARINI CALVANI (a cura di), Schede di Archeologia dell'Emilia-Romagna, Bologna 1995
B. FARFANETI, Cesenatico romana. Archeologia e territorio, Ravenna 2000
C. Dondi Il porto di Cesenatico lo pensÚ Leonardo?


Tags:Alessandra Cocchi, A. Sturmer, square, fish, fishing, .

Stile:Ottocento, Novecento.

Per saperne di più sulla città di: Cesenatico


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Conserve Square. The statues are part of the traditional Nativity staged during Christmas time. Cesenatico.

Conserve Square. Detail of the interior of a "conserve" or icebox. Cesenatico.

Conserve Square. Cesenatico.



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