By capitalizing on its heritage Cervia managed to stimulate economic development, improve the well-being of the inhabitants and address environmental challenges
Cervia is a seaside town in the province of Ravenna, famous for its beaches and for its natural protected heritage. The main challenge encountered by the Municipality was to protect and promote the cultural heritage (tangible and intangible) connected to the sea and to the salt production, while fighting against floods, coastal erosion, salt intrusion and subsidence and ensuring navigability of the port throughout the year. By focusing on the identity of the town and enabling community participation, the Municipality managed to implement the vision of the former political Administration set out in the DUP (Single Programming Document foreseen by the law): "to safeguard and preserve the beauty and charm of the city, to make it even more welcoming, attractive and inclusive, capable of creating opportunities and fostering new developments and new energies". The required operational programming documents were developed around this vision and this was also the common thread for all the town's applications to European, National and regional funds. All the projects implemented in town are indeed interconnected and together form the good practice named "Adriatico Mare Comune". Citizens, tourists and tourist operators were the common stakeholders of all projects. Other stakeholders included, based on the individual topics tackled: public authorities, their staffs, sailors, fishermen, students, business categories, cultural and volunteer associations.

Resources needed

The overall funding, including co-financing, amounts to ca. 5.5 M euros.
Almost all departments were involved in one or more projects, each based on the specific competence. The European Policies Office was involved in all projects at all stages. The average number of staff was 4 people per project

Evidence of success

- Regeneration of Magazzino del Sale Darsena co-financed by ERDF OP 2014-2020 (ongoing)
- Refurbishment of Magazzino del Sale Torre, co-financed by EAFRD Leader 2020 (completed).
- Regeneration of the harbour area co-financed by 3 different integrated projects funded by EMFF, FSC and Arca Adriatica Interreg Italy-Croatia (the latter still ongoing)
- "Imagine Cervia" tourist story telling application developed within the framework of Interreg Central Europe Culturecovery project (ongoing).

Difficulties encountered

- minimal internal coordination problems
- need to deepen dialogue with some stakeholders
- matching needs and times of European projects with specific provisions of the Italian Public Procurement Code
- “keeping alive” participants' attention and satisfaction through the whole implementation

Potential for learning or transfer

This is a potentially interesting practice for small and medium-sized towns, as it offers a comprehensive and successful enhancement approach.
Through a skillful involvement of all Municipal departments and collaborative engagement of local stakeholders the town has managed to attract funds and invest in environmental protection, climate adaptation, promotion and enhancement of historical and cultural – both tangible and intangible - water-linked heritage.
The practice is highly transferable as it is based on EU funded projects. Basically, starting from a clear local planning (transposing EU-national-regional indications), the related planning tools and policies were developed, the “hard” investments were prepared, and the matching and merging “soft” actions were built (ref. cooperation projects). Such a methodology is easily applicable to other territories. Moreover, the outputs of the cooperation projects are transferable as such within the projects themselves.
Main institution
Municipality of Cervia
Emilia-Romagna, Italy (Italia)
Start Date
July 2017
End Date


Stefania Gambi Please login to contact the author.