Cesena travel guide: what to see in this ancient Romagna city

What about an Italian holiday, away from the crowds?

30 Oct 2019

Gruppo UNA

Today it is the perfect base for an authentic Italian holiday, away from the crowds of Venice, Bologna or Rome, but still home to numerous sites of historical significance. The area has been settled since Etruscan times, but the town that we see today was largely built and paid for by the wealthy Malatesta family, who built a library and fortress here in the 1400s. Visitors can also enjoy the beautiful main piazza, as well as easy access to both the coast, where the resort of Rimini lies waiting, and the enigmatic Republic of San Marino.

Malatestiana Library.

One of the top things to do in Cesena is visit the 15th century Malatestiana Library, one of the world’s finest Renaissance libraries and the first civic bibliotheque in Europe. It serves the same purpose today as it has for over 500 years and is home to over 400,000 texts including a copy of Isidore’s Etymologiae, the oldest manuscript in the library. Designed as a ‘temple of culture’, the library has a similar construction to a basilica, with a large atrium and three naves. It's quite simply one of the most spectacular attractions in Cesena; entrance to the library is free and it is open all year round.

Rocca Malatestiana

Rocca Malatestiana.

Majestically perched on Garampo Hill and overlooking the entire city is the 15th century Malatesta Fortress (Rocca Malatestiana).  This castle is one of the main sights in Cesena. It is a must-do experience, even if you only have one day in Cesena. The amazingly preserved citadel is protected by extensive battlements, atop which are a series of walkways offering excellent views of the city.  The main fortress is made up of two buildings; a male and female tower.  One holds a display of armour, whilst the other contains an agricultural museum.

Abbey of St. Maria del Monte.

Located just outside the town centre, the Renaissance Abbey of St Maria del Monte has been meticulously preserved. It is home to a series of votive tablets, some of which date back to the 9th century AD.

Other things to do in Cesena.

The city’s main square is arguably Cesena’s beating heart. Piazza del Popolo is the perfect place to eat, drink, shop and watch the world go by.  By day visitors can enjoy a gelato on the steps of the water fountain as they wander between historical sites. By night al fresco dining and drinking fills the edges of the piazza. Here you will find some of Cesena’s best restaurants, where visitors can enjoy regional specialities such as tortellini and polpettone, not to mention top regional wines such as Sangiovese. Agriculture is a significant part of the economic landscape, which means food is always sourced locally and served fresh.

A day at the beach.

The Adriatic Coast is just 17 km from Cesena. Those looking for quieter, more secluded beaches should head to the charming harbour town of Cesenatico or the pretty seaside town of Cervia. The famous resort town of Rimini is about a 40 minutes drive from Cesena and is a good choice for families or those looking for plenty of seaside facilities and safe swimming waters. Rimini is also a popular place to head for those looking for a glamorous night out; it is home to some of Italy’s most famous beach-side nightclubs and is often frequented by Italy’s rich and famous circles.

Beach near Cesena

San Marino.

For a day out with a difference, the tiny republic of San Marino is less than an hour’s drive from Cesena. The historic centre of the capital city, also named San Marino, has gained UNESCO protection. Be sure to try the San Marino speciality, the Cake of Three Towers (Torta Tre Monte) a dessert created in celebration of the state’s famous three fortress-topped mountains.

Start your trip to historic Cesena today and book your Stay at the UNAWAY Hotel Cesena Nord, part of the Gruppo UNA chain. This hotel is the perfect base for those who want to explore both this historic town and its environs.  The Nord hotel offers excellent access to both Cesena city centre and Adriatic coast.