A guided tour of the Salt Pans of Cervia Park is the key to learning about the ancient tradition in the area – the production of the sweet salt of Cervia, protected within a unique ecosystem that offers shelter to numerous species of birds, such as flamingos, black-winged stilts and great egrets.
An experience that allows you to combine the history of a tradition and the observation of wildlife. From the point of view of the landscape, the Cervia Salt Pan is, in fact, unique in the area of the Upper Adriatic for its size (827 hectares), the depth of the water (a few centimetres) and also for the high concentration of salt in the water, equal to 150%. It has been counted among the Wetlands of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention.
The last southern outpost of the Po Delta Park, the Cervia Pan consists of more than 50 lagoons surrounded by a canal that is over 16 km long, allowing the water from the Adriatic Sea to enter and exit the area. It is from the salt water flowing in these brackish water canals, after it has evaporated, that the salt is obtained.
Salt collection occurs in the heart of the pan and still takes place today in an artisanal manner, with the help of a conveyor belt and cart. Only in the Camillone Salt Pan is the salt still collected by hand using the technique called multiple collection, which is repeated every year from the end of August to the beginning of September. This area is a sort of open-air salt museum that produces about 100,000 kg of salt per year.
As a result of its production cycle, Cervia salt is defined as “sweet”, as it contains only pure sodium chloride, with a very low percentage of other bitter chlorides.
The Salt Pans of Cervia Park can be explored in various ways – on foot, by bike or by boat – but always accompanied by an expert guide. The meeting place is the Salt Pans of Cervia Visitor Centre, located right behind the park, which organises visits at the best time of year to admire the beauties of the park, from March to November.
In the park’s shop, you can buy a packet of “sweet” Cervia salt and other regional delicacies.