Guida di Ravenna: itineraries and information about the city of mosaics
Area: 1858 Km2
Maximum altitude: 4 m a.s.l.
>A bit of history
Ravenna, for the wealth if its artistic and cultural heritage is a UNESCO World Heritage site. A city the foundation of which dates back to 3000 years ago and that starts to flourish under Emperor Augustus who in the first century AD had the port of Ravenna built, strategic for controlling the Adriatic. In the 5th
century it became the capital of the Western Empire first under Honorius and then under Valentinian III and his mother Galla Placidia. In this period the famous Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Baptistry were built as well as the Ursian Basilica on the ruins of which today rises the Baroque Duomo. Theodoric had the Basilica of St. Apollinair built, as also the Mausoleum. Around the middle of the 6th
century, Ravenna becomes the seat of the exarchate of Constantinople when it becomes strongly influenced by Byzantine culture and the Basilica of Saint Apolinnaire in Classe is built. The town is subsequently despoiled first by the Longobards and then by the Franks, after which it becomes the Signeury of archbishops and in the communal period the various families who govern the city, like the Da Polenta family, famous for having hosted Dante Alighieri whose tomb is in fact in Ravenna. At the end of the 15th
century the Venetians take over after which a very dark period follows with looting and floods. The city then passes from the rule of the Church to that of Napoleon to return under the Pontifical State until the Risorgimento and in 1859, anticipating many other Italian cities, it adheres to the Unity of the Country. After the World Wars that have greatly damaged its buildings Ravenna experienced a flourishing period of economic growth especially due to the activities revolving around the port, considered one of the most important ports in the Adriatic.
>What to visit
Ravenna has the most important heritage in terms of mosaics in the world, all dating back to the 5th
century. One should not miss the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia where you find the most antique mosaics, the Basilica of San Vitale, the Basilica of Saint Apollinare Nuovo and of Saint Apollinare in Classe just outside the city. Worthy of note are also the Theoderic’s Mausoleum, Dante’s Tomb, the Baptistry of the Arians and the Neonian or Orthodox Baptistry. Apart from the mosaics, Ravenna also hosts the magnificent Planetarium that shows a projection on an 8 metre dome the vault of the sky as it should be without pollution and disturbing atmospheric agents. A beautiful experience for those who love to watch the stars and constellations just a few steps from the train station. A different sort of entertainment is offered by another attraction in Ravenna, or rather its environs, we’re talking about Mirabilandia an entertainment park where you can spend the whole day having fun, especially in the warm season.
>Feasts and Folklore
From 14 to 24 July, for the celebrations of the Patron Saint of Ravenna, Saint Apollinare, the city hosts a series of events, feasts, parades, historic regattas, shows, festivals, guided tours and exhibitions. The city of art and mosaics explodes in a potpourri of proposals that attract tourists from every corner of the Country. Another very popular and recent event is the golden night that takes place in the month of October. A whole night dedicated to art and music with concerts, exhibitions, shows and guided tours.