Ravenna

Mosaics that outshine the pizza.

Ravenna, in northeast Italy, is known for Byzantine mosaics, historic churches like Basilica of San Vitale, and UNESCO sites like the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia.

4.6
out of 5

Ravenna, located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, is renowned for its stunning early Christian and Byzantine mosaics, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This city was once the capital of the Western Roman Empire and later of the Ostrogothic and Byzantine Italy. Ravenna's architectural heritage includes the Basilica of San Vitale and the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, showcasing intricate and well-preserved mosaic art.

Historical Significance and Stories

Ravenna's rich history is reflected in its well-preserved monuments and buildings. The city's significance peaked when it became the capital of the Western Roman Empire in 402 AD. Later, it served as a key center during the Ostrogothic and Byzantine periods. This history is evident in the architecture and ruins scattered throughout the city. The Mausoleum of Theoderic, built in 520 AD, serves as the final resting place of the Ostrogothic King Theoderic the Great.

Byzantine Mosaics and Architecture

Ravenna is particularly known for its Byzantine mosaics, which you can see in several key locations. The Basilica of San Vitale features intricate mosaics depicting biblical scenes and figures, offering a glimpse into early Christian art. Another must-see is the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, where vivid mosaics cover the walls and ceiling. The Arian Baptistery and the Neonian Baptistery also display stunning mosaics, illustrating early Christian themes and showcasing the skill of ancient craftsmen.

Local Cuisine

Ravenna's cuisine reflects the flavors of the Emilia-Romagna region. Local dishes include "Cappelletti," a type of stuffed pasta often served in broth, and "Piadina," a flatbread typically filled with cheese, ham, or vegetables. Don't miss trying "Passatelli," a unique pasta made from breadcrumbs, eggs, and Parmesan cheese, usually served in a rich broth. Local wines such as Sangiovese and Albana complement these dishes.

Key Attractions

Basilica di Sant'Apollinare Nuovo This basilica houses numerous mosaics depicting scenes from the New Testament and is renowned for its stunning depiction of the Palatium of Theoderic.

Dante's Tomb Ravenna is also the final resting place of Dante Alighieri, the renowned Italian poet. His tomb is located in a small, neoclassical temple near San Francesco Basilica.

Battistero degli Ariani A UNESCO World Heritage site, this baptistery offers an interior adorned with rich mosaics depicting the Baptism of Christ.

Transportation and Getting Around

Ravenna is well-connected by trains and buses, making it easy to reach from other major Italian cities like Bologna and Florence. Within the city, walking is the most convenient way to explore its historical sites and attractions. Bike rentals are also available and can be an enjoyable way to see more of the city at your own pace.

Cultural Events and Festivals

Ravenna hosts various events throughout the year that bring its history and culture to life. The Ravenna Festival, held annually in the summer, features music, opera, and dance performances in historic settings. Another notable event is the Biennale di Mosaico Contemporaneo, which showcases modern interpretations of mosaic art, linking the city's ancient heritage to contemporary practices.

Average temperatures during the day in Ravenna.
June
25°
Jul
28°
Aug
27°
Sep
24°
Oct
19°
Nov
12°
Dec
7°
Jan
6°
Feb
9°
Mar
12°
Apr
16°
May
21°

What people say about Ravenna

4.6
People
5
Food
5
Spaces
4
Value
4
Safety
5

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