three days in milano marittima
Milano Marittima is a beautiful beach city off Italy’s east coast where you’ll find tree-lined streets, bars open until sunrise, dozens of stores to window shop, and families everywhere. If there’s one thing we’ve learned since living in Italy, it’s that Italians really take the time to slow down and enjoy life. During the month of August, the cities shut down and most people head to the beaches. Some people go for a long weekend and others take the entire month off. You’ll find lots of families lining the beaches where they stay out from morning until evening and then head into town for an amazing seafood dinner.
A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to be introduced to a family from northern Italy and this summer we were invited to join them on their summer vacation in Milano Marittima. This will definitely be one of the most special trips of our time in Italy. We experienced an Italian summer at the beach with locals, had a huge crash course in champagne (the wife is a professor of champagne), and had an amazing weekend spending time with a wonderful family. I know this trip is one we will look back on very fondly and cherish for years to come.
Milano Marittima is a very small town, so there isn’t a need to use public transit while you’re here. The walk to Cervia was less than 20 minutes. Because we vacationed with the family, we took the train from Rome to Reggio Emilia and then drove with them two hours to the beach. You can take a train from Rome to Bologna, Bologna to Cervia, and then a 10-minute ride on the 210 bus to Milano Marittima.
Hotel Atmosfere is centrally located in Milano Marittima. It’s a 10 minute walk to downtown and all the shops and 5 minutes from the beach. The rooms are average size, the property is very clean, and the staff speaks English. There is a pool and two jacuzzis for use and they serve a great breakfast buffet every morning. They also have a fully stocked bar. The only downside is that the walls were a little thin so you could hear the people above you, to the left and right of you, and when they’re walking through the halls.
“BAGNO” – BEACH RESORTS
During our time in Milano Marittima, we spent the majority of our afternoons at two different resorts: Bagno Oreste and MarePineta Resort. At each of the resorts, we hung out at reserved spaces that came with an umbrella and two loungers. Bagno Oreste is a more affordable and very popular resort option. There isn’t as much space between each umbrella and it was a bit crowded, but it was still a great experience. MarePineta is a luxury resort and it was much quieter because spaces were spread out. Each reserved space at MarePineta also had a call button for service to order food and drinks or to ask for your bill. Overall, the amenities provided were much nicer from the beach loungers to the bar. When the resorts close at night, each of them is cleaned and reorganized for the next day. Each resort we passed by on the beach was well maintained and clean.
We love seafood pasta and sea bass, so that’s what we filled our tummies almost every time we went out.
We had wonderful spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams). An extremely simple recipe made with just olive oil, garlic, parsley, clams, salt, and pepper and one of the most popular seafood pasta dishes. If you’re by the sea and not sure which pasta to get, you can’t go wrong with spaghetti alle vongole. Bagno Oreste also has great gelato so after our pasta, we enjoyed pistachio, Bounty (a coconut filled chocolate bar), and Kinder (a chocolate bar) gelato. We highly recommend the gelato at Bagno Oreste. Over the summer, I kept seeing caffè shakerato mentioned on Instagram and finally had the chance to try it while in Milano Marittima. Caffè shakerato is espresso vigorously shaken with ice until you get frothy goodness on top. You can have your caffè shakerato sweetened or unsweetened.
Spadafino is a restaurant with innovative food that revisits classic dishes and adds its own twist. This was our favorite restaurant in Milano Marittima. To start we had roasted spinach with toasted pine nuts. The best dishes we had were the amatriciana di mare (seafood amatriciana) and ragù di pesce (fish ragù). They really showcased the chef’s innovation. Traditional amatriciana is made with guanciale (cured pork jowl) and traditional ragù is made with a mixture of ground beef and ground pork. Jaime also had sea bass with tomatoes, potatoes, olives, and capers and we all finished the night with tangerine gelato that was out of this world.
I have completely fallen in love with tagliolini allo scoglio which is seafood pasta. IT. IS. SO. GOOD. The pasta is usually made with a mixture of clams, mussels, calamari, shrimp, and sometimes crab, lobster, and octopus. Bicio Papao is on the northern end of the shoreline and their food was delicious.
Kalumet Molo Nord
If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, Kalumet is where people go in Milano Marittima. While the food was good, the group agreed that the price reflected the experience of eating on the pier with an oceanfront view rather than the quality of the food. I had risotto with tomatoes, shrimp, and burrata, Jaime had Thai inspired dumplings and we all shared a huge sea bass that was served with tomatoes, potatoes, olives, and capers. Their creme brulee with fresh fruit was amazing. While the sunset view was beautiful, we’ll pass on it the next time we’re in Milano Marittima.
La Brasserie Borgo Marina Cervia
Milano Marittima is actually part of a larger city called Cervia. To get to the city center of Cervia, you can drive or walk from Milano Marittima. We walked and took a 1-minute ferry across the canal, but there is also a bridge you can walk and drive over. I had more tagliolini allo scoglio, Jaime had spaghetti alle vongole, and we all finished the night with more sea bass.
The family recently spent time in Sardegna and the wife fell in love with pasta alla bottarga. Bottarga is salted, cured fish roe. Since their trip to Sardegna, she’s spent a lot of time making it at home and made it for us for lunch one day. This is how she makes her pasta alla bottarga: Add lemon peel to olive oil and cook it on low until the lemon peel starts to crisp, then add the cooked pasta and mix. Top it off with freshly grated bottarga and black pepper. You can also add some bread crumbs for texture. The pasta was so good \we picked up bottarga from our local market the first day we were back in Rome and made it for dinner. Her dad is a hunter and we were fortunate enough to try his homemade salami. These personal experiences were just a few of many reasons why this trip was so special to us.
There’s also quite a bit of WWII history along Milano Marittima’s shoreline. During excavations last year, three German WWII bunkers were discovered along the shoreline. Near the bunkers are dragon teeth, which were used as anti-tank barriers. You can read more about the history here.
Before spending time at Italy’s beaches, I really hated going to the beach. Having to lug all your belongings out and getting sand everywhere has never sounded like a relaxing time for me. If you’re planning to do Italian beaches in the summer, don’t overlook the resorts. They are worth the convenience and experience. We’re so grateful for this trip to Milano Marittima and the opportunity to experience Italian summers as locals with locals.