15 things to do in Cesena (Italy)

Cesena is a prosperous commune located in the central region of Italy, near the east coast bordering the Adriatic Sea. With a population of 97,000, it is one of the smaller cities in the region, but still has many tourist attractions. Over the years, Cesena was actually settled by the Umbrians and Etruscans before finally being conquered by the Romans in the 3rd century BC. During Roman times, the commune was mainly used as a military fortress and was involved in many power struggles between Emperor Marius and his general Sulla. In subsequent eras, Cesena was part of the Holy Roman Empire, also controlled by the Lombards and eventually by the Papal States. Finally, the Commune played a key role in the unification of Italy and joined the kingdom in the 19th century.

This commune has a lot to offer as a tourist destination, located in a beautiful region of Italy surrounded by some fantastic landscapes and cities. Beautiful coastal towns such as Rimini, Pesaro and Cesenatico are easily accessible from Cesena. In addition, the city has many interesting historical sites such as Rocca Malatestiana, Teatro Alessandri Bonci and the beautiful Ponte Vecchio. If you’re looking for a quiet getaway, great attractions and friendly locals, Cesena is a great place to visit.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Cesena:

1. Rocca Malatestiana

rocamara testiana

This remarkable castle complex has been located in Cesena since the late 1300s, and is actually on top of two previous fortifications.

During the 1400s, the fortifications were completely renovated and improved to become the main defensive outpost of the city of Cesena.

Despite its age, the castle has remained in remarkable condition, with the original towers a dominant feature of the city’s skyline.

You can visit the castle, walk on the battlements and admire the beautiful architecture.

In addition, the castle houses the Agricultural Museum – this museum provides an insight into rural life in the Emilia-Romagna region.

2. People’s Square

People's Square

Cesena has several beautiful squares, but Piazza del Popolo (Plaza del Popolo) is undoubtedly the most important and attractive.

Located on the side of Rocca Malatestiana, the square is home to countless ornate buildings in every colour – from pink and yellow to green and white.

On the south side of the square, the remains of the castle ramparts dominate, while the beautiful ruins of the town hall are proudly next door.

At the center of the square is the gorgeous Masini Fountain, and a range of high-quality restaurants and cafés for a casual meal or drink.

People’s Square is a great place to visit when walking through the city center.

3. Music Museum

music museum

Although not in the center of Cesena, Museo Musicalia is only a 15-minute drive west of the town.

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This hidden gem is actually one of the most important music museums in Italy, containing a large collection of mechanical instruments and offering a fascinating insight into the history of this type of music.

Covering 500 years of music history, this museum has some fascinating exhibits and a plethora of beautiful instruments.

Items in the museum include music boxes, miniature organs, pianos and other delightful equipment.

A notable item is the legendary Da Vinci War Drum – a mechanical drum that can be pulled across the battlefield to help with marching beats.

4. Fontana Massini

Fontana Massini

Located in Piazza del Popolo, the Massini Fountain is a stunning giant fountain that is the icon of the city.

Created in the 16th century, this fountain depicts Neptune and his bodyguards, the Tritons.

In addition, at each corner of the fountain there is a statue of a famous religious or political figure of great significance to the city.

Located in the center of Piazza del Popolo, this gorgeous fountain is a must-see monument when visiting Cesena.

5. Malatestiana Library

Malatetiana Library

This huge building in the heart of the historic old town of Cesena has been designated as part of the UNESCO World List.

Also known as the Malatesta Novello Library, this public library was built in the 15th century and built up a large amount of literature in the years that followed.

What makes this library special is its decadent architecture and interior design – the reading room looks more like a religious building than a place of study.

Lined with beautiful arches, marble columns and old wooden reading benches, this is an absolutely stunning room.

The various doorways and entrances are also ornate and decorated with stucco artwork and pediments.

With over 400,000 books, this library is a cultural and educational treasure.

6. Monastery of Santa Maria del Monte

Monastery of Santa Maria del Monte

Perched high on Mount Spaziano, the Abbey of Santa Maria del Monte is a majestic building that can be seen for miles around.

Originally the monastery was founded in the 11th century by a group of Benedictine monks who climbed a mountain to pray.

Once established, the monastery was under the protection of Emperor Barbarossa and underwent numerous renovations over the next few hundred years.

While the structure itself is simple, the interior is simply stunning.

The main monastery has many beautiful religious decorations, most notably the frescoes covering the main dome.

The fresco is incredibly detailed and colorful – it’s one of the best-preserved pieces of religious art in this part of Italy.

7. Watch the game at the Orogel Stadium

Oroger Stadium

Although these cities are relatively small compared to other larger Italian communes, the Orogor Stadium is surprisingly large, with a capacity of 23,000 people. Located in the east of the city, this fantastic stadium is home to Serie B football club AC Cesena.

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Throughout their history, the club has swung between Serie A and Serie B, even making a small run in the UEFA Cup in 1976. If you are a football or sports lover, this stadium offers a fantastic atmosphere and home games always have a huge following.

When visiting Cesena, consider checking out what’s going on at the stadium and buying yourself a few tickets.

8. Alessandro Bunch Theater

Alessandro Bunch Theater

There are several theaters in Cesena, but the Alessandro Bunch Theater is by far the most beautiful and famous.

Originally designed and created in 1843, the Opera House has a reputation for high quality and entertaining productions and was dedicated to the famous tenor Alessandro Bunch, who actually lived in Cesena.

The exterior of the tower has an ornate arched portico topped with a decorative pediment.

The interior is truly sublime and features 5 layers of individual boxes in a semi-circular ring.

The decor is great and when you enter the main theatre you will feel like you have travelled back in time.

9. Pinacoteca Comunale di Cesena

Pinacoteca Comunale di Cesena

The Comunale Gallery in Cesena is a great venue with many different works of art dating back to the 15th century.

The gallery is actually located in an old monastery built in the 13th century, and you can walk through the building’s gardens.

In the gallery you can find a selection of exquisite artworks from artists such as Bertucci, Barbieri, Sacchi and Gennari.

Works range from Renaissance portraits to contemporary and modern creations.

10. A trip to Lido di Savio

Lido Di Savio

Cesena benefits from a privileged location and proximity to several delightful coastal towns.

Once such a town was Lido di Savio – a seaside resort 30 minutes northeast of Cesena, a peaceful retreat from the city.

Here you can find many quality hotels with swimming pools and beach access.

In addition, the town has an array of tennis courts, camping facilities, and more importantly; long beaches.

If you don’t want to face the masses in the popular destination of Rimini; Lido di Savio offers a low-key option.

11. Visit the city of Forli

Torre Civica, Forli

Just a short distance west of Cesena, Forli is a great day trip destination.

You can reach this charming city in 13 minutes by train or bus on the direct route between the two destinations.

Forli is a beautiful city with a large number of historic buildings from its ancient past.

Some of the city’s main attractions include the gorgeous San Mercuriale Abbey, Piazza Aurelio Saffi and Palazzo del Podesta.

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In addition, Forli has several beautiful parks, such as Parco della Resistenza, as well as a range of excellent restaurants and bars.

12. Old Bridge

Laoqiao

The oldest bridge in Cesena, the Ponte Vecchio is a beautiful structure spanning the Savio River.

The bridge was built by Pope Clement XII in the 18th century and has a history of more than 250 years.

The bridge actually spans the Savio River and is about 50m wide at its narrowest point.

The bridge has two supporting stone columns and is very beautiful, with three large arches across the water.

Also, the water actually falls into a small waterfall under the bridge, which cascades down into the lower part of the river.

There are several walkways around the bridge, perfect for strolling along this pleasant waterway.

13. Dine at Scottadito Restaurant

Scotadito

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy a quality meal, Scottadito is definitely worth a visit! Located just north of Cesena, this restaurant isn’t as central as other restaurants, but it’s worth the trip.

The decor of the restaurant is beautiful and gives a homely feel.

Also, the menu is extensive and you can choose from a variety of Italian dishes and pizzas.

In fine weather, you can also choose to dine on the purpose-built terrace.

Every meal is freshly cooked and full of flavour and flavour.

Don’t forget to try their local craft beer too!

14. Enjoy the ambience at Pappa Reale Café

Pappa Reale Cafe

Just around the corner from People’s Square, Pappa Reale Café is a charming place to visit.

The atmosphere is very laid back and the staff are very friendly.

You can dine at the Pappa Reale Café throughout the day and enjoy meals for breakfast, lunch and evening.

The quality of the food is amazing and there are some great treats like delicious deserts, salads and pastries.

This cafe is a must when walking through People’s Square!

15. Rimini day trip

Rimini

Another delightful day trip on Cesena’s doorstep is the coastal town of Rimini.

Trains and buses run regularly to this seaside location, which is only a 30-minute drive away.

Rimini is one of Italy’s premier beach resorts on the Adriatic coast, attracting a large number of tourists seeking escape from the heat.

This coastal town benefits from stretches of golden sand and countless top hotels, restaurants and beach facilities.

In addition, Rimini has no shortage of historical attractions, with sights such as the Arco di Augusto, Piazza Tre Martiri and even the Roman Amphitheatre.

If you like sun and sand, you’ll find Rimini to be a great place to visit.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Cesena, Italy
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