Founded in 1302, Cesenatico has a rich history and its seashore has been walked by many significant figures over the centuries.
Cesenatico's port canal was surveyed and drawn by Leonardo da Vinci at the request of Cesare Borgia, as part of his plans to fortify the nearby town of Cesena.
In 1722, James Francis Edward Stuart, nicknamed “The Old Pretender”, stayed in Cesenatico's Capuchin monastery.
Perhaps the town’s greatest claim to fame, however, has its roots in the summer of 1849.
On August 2, Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi and his wife Anita, who was five months pregnant, landed at Cesenatico’s canal harbour to seek shelter on their way to Venice from Rome.
The couple was forced to flee the fledgling Roman Republic and, along with 400 followers, they made their way up Italy to the Republic of San Marino, before heading to the coast and Cesenatico.
From there they took to sea, hoping to reach Venice, but they failed.
Anita tragically died in nearby Comacchio, while Garibaldi was eventually forced to emigrate by the Piedmontese authorities.
Known as one of the “fathers of the fatherland”, Garibaldi personally commanded and fought in many military campaigns that led eventually to the Italian unification.
He was appointed general by the provisional government of Milan in 1848, General of the Roman Republic in 1849 by the Minister of War, and led the Expedition of the Thousand on behalf and with the consent of Victor Emmanuel II.
To this day, the town commemorates the day the “Hero of Two Worlds” visited with an annual festival full of folk events, fireworks and a masked parade that recalls times gone by.
The festivities take place during the first week of August, and on the opening Saturday there is a greased pole palio, or race, which many of the surrounding maritime communities participate in.
The Festa di Garibaldi occurs annually, but the town of Cesenatico celebrates these heroes of the Italian unification all year round, with plaques and monuments scattered across the town.
One of the most notable statues is the one in Piazza Pisacane, the first built in Italy and rare in that Garibaldi is not depicted on horseback.