Cervia on the Adriatic: Festival That’s Become a Pilgrimage

Ben Ruhe
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Cervia is a classy beach town on the Adriatic two hours south of Venice. Jammed in summer with vacationing Italians and other Europeans, it is tranquil and underpopulated in the spring, with a gentle breeze blowing in from offshore. Perfect for kiteflying, in short.

Last spring’s Festival Internazionale dell’ Aquilone was the 22nd annual, making it one of the longest running events of its kind. It was eight days of flying on a broad, soft sand beach. Rokkaku battles, night flies with lights, live concerts, workshops for children, a major photographic exhibition, an auction, traction boarding out in the sea, fine dining with an emphasis on pasta, seafood and local wine, and lots of impromptu fun, games and singing were the bill of fare. Upwards of 100 fliers and their families from Europe, along with a sprinkling of guests from around the world, participated. Spectators in their thousands came, day after day. It was the big show in town.

The festival these days is the fruit of a father-daughter collaboration.

Once owner of an art gallery in Paris and an artist of international stature, Claudio Capelli has long combined fine arts with his love of kites. He has has been running the Cervia festival for two decades now. When he wearied of the task some years ago, his daughter Caterina stepped in to get him reinterested. She adds new energy and vision. Along with her father’s administrative and diplomatic skills and knowledge of French, she contributes two new ones------fluency in English and an ease with the computer, both vital in this day and age. The two of them make a wonderful team.

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