Art & CultureArt & Culture

Romagna Liberty: art and architectures of Italian tourism

by /// August 31, 2021
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes



Sweet sinuous lines, stylization of the natural elements and rejection of the serial production of mass objects.

Here is a brief description of the fundamental characteristics of the Italian Art Nouveau style, an artistic movement that was established between the end of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century and which influenced the visual arts, architecture and applied arts.

A bit of history

Romagna Liberty, Rimini, The Grand Hotel project in Liberty Style - Ph. Romagna Liberty

Rimini, The Grand Hotel project in Liberty Style – Ph. Romagna Liberty

The artistic style of Italian Liberty or Stile Floreale thrived between the nineteenth and twentieth century. At that time European states had recently taken the form we know today and the industry thrived among the new and powerful mercantile classes. While the Great War was still far away, masses of peasants flowed into large urban centers to become workers in the big industry and, for the first time in human history, a never-before-seen number of people access mass consumer goods.

It is in these years that the Liberty style is born, grows and develops in Italy as an emanation of Art Nouveau of France and Belgium. Soon every country in Europe developed its own precise styles such as Gaudì’s Modernism in Spain and Catalonia or the Jugendstil of Germany and Switzerland.

It is the era of elegant ladies with delicate white umbrellas, men walking around with a cylinder and a stick, boulevards and public gardens of big cities, ballooning that hides a boundless trust in human progress. An era that historians have called Belle Èpoque (at least for the more affluent classes) in which the Literature dreams of journeys and distant worlds in space and time.

Rimini, Hotel Lido - Ph. Romagna Liberty

Rimini, Hotel Lido – Ph. Romagna Liberty

It is unquestionable that bourgeoisie in big cities increases the volume of businesses, and new techniques allow the mass production of goods and services to sell to the whole society. This is the era of great industrial empires, Henry Ford and its auto assembly line made their appearance in recent years.

Wealthier classes now feel new desires and appetites: embellish the cities are with large avenues and public gardens where people can escape for a moment the pollution and ugliness of the most popular neighborhoods. The concept of “urban decor” is born in this times and the city becomes a stage for the Sunday walks as well as makes its appearance the “Free Time – Leisure“, a forerunner of today’s tourism.

Of course, time is a privilege for those who can afford it, the upper-class made by big traders, industries owners and the great mercantile bourgeoisie. It is therefore not surprising that they apply the Italian Art Nouveau style in the places of leisure: spas, cafes, villas, resorts and large hotels, this, in short, the panorama of Romagna Liberty.

A special mention goes to the Costa Romagnola, first among the Italian tourist resorts to be the place of the “vacation” of the most wealthy classes of Italy.

After the cold and humid climate of winter, these pour into the sea to breathe the healthy air; as well as the importance of the Baths, a place in which to regain part of the health lost during the long and cold winter months. The first “tourism movement” appears as an activity dedicated to the healthcare of the wealthy classes that bring with them fashions, costumes, and European styles; Liberty style starts to populate the panorama of Italian holiday resorts.

Romagna Liberty

  • Rimini, Viserba, Kursaal – Ph. Romagna Liberty
  • Rimini, Viserba – Adelia House – Ph. Romagna Liberty
  • Rimini, Torre Pedrera, Cappa House – Ph. Romagna Liberty
  • Rimini, Solinas House – Ph. Romagna Liberty
  • Rimini, Cacciaguerra House – Ph. Romagna Liberty
  • Rimini, Hotel Lido – Ph. Romagna Liberty
  • Riccione, Antolini House – Ph. Daniel Carnevale
  • Riccione, Hotel De la Ville – Ph. Romagna Liberty
  • Liberty in Faenza – Ph. Mattia Camellini
  • Achille Calzi, Ceramic panel with fish, Fabbriche Riunite di Faenza, 1906 -09 – Ph. Romagna Liberty
  • Achille Calzi, Ceramic panel with fish, Fabbriche Riunite di Faenza, 1906 -09 – Ph. Romagna Liberty
  • Rimini, Vintage photo of the Forcellini pastry bar. Photo taken from the facebook page ”La Rimini che non c’è più ”
  • Rimini, The Grand Hotel project in Liberty Style – Ph. Romagna Liberty
  • Ferrara, Postcard by Edmondo Fontana – Ph.

Cattolica, Riccione, Rimini, Viserba, Cesenatico, Cervia, Milano Marittima, and Comacchio are the first places to see beautiful Art Nouveau villas flourish on the coast, soon followed by inland cities such as Cesena, Forlì, and Faenza.

Between the late nineteenth and early twentieth century arise the first hotel structures of the Riviera along with the “holidays homes“, the forerunners of what will be the development of tourism and vacation in Italy. Within a few decades, beautiful buildings appear along the Coast with rich decorations that, in many cases, have reached the present day in excellent condition.

The National Exhibition of Fine Arts, organized by Ferruccio Luppis in 1909, is worth mentioning in the history of the Romagna Liberty. Ferruccio organized the Exhibition in his vacation house, a beautiful residence in Liberty style and today known as Hotel Augustea.

An almost complete review of what was the development of the Art Nouveau style on the Romagna coast is nowadays included in the “Romagna Liberty” project, an initiative that intends to catalog and enhance the buildings in the style of the Romagna coast.

The project contains a review of what has been the development of the Romagna Liberty from construction to design to artifacts. Particular importance is given to the city of Faenza, where Art Nouveau ceramics reached its maximum and where it is still possible to admire rare pieces of the time.

The discovery of the Romagna Liberty is, therefore, a journey into the history of the art of the early twentieth century, but also a journey in the Adriatic Coast through its tourist vocation.


Walter Manni

Explorer and Adventurer: loves sailing the oceans, climbing the highest mountains and surfing on the waves of the web

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