Ravenna is called the ‘mosaic city’ because the walls of its churches are adorned with stunning 5th and 6th century mosaics. Dante has described these mosaics as a symphony of color in his Divine Comedy. This city is still one among the top producers of mosaics in Italy.
It is situated near the Adriatic Coast, in the Emilia Romagna region of northeastern Italy.
At first glance it looks much like any other Italian city with old streets, peaceful squares and fine shops, but the churches with their Byzantine domes still evoke its Eastern heritage.
This ancient city is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, many Roman sites, museums and Dante’s tomb. Much of its historic center is a pedestrian zone.
St Maria in Porto Basilica, Ravenna, Italy
The memories of a great past and the enticing remains lure hordes of visitors to explore this town.
A Little Bit Of History of Ravenna
This small city was the western capital of the Roman Empire when it fell in 476 AD. The city was an imperial port for the large naval fleet.
Piazza del Popolo – the central square in Ravenna
The Barbarians took it over from the Romans and in 540 AD it became the capital of the Byzantine Empire in Europe. It was during these periods the famous and fabulous mosaics of the city were created.
Ravenna was a light in Europe’s Dark Ages and it was a pinnacle of civilization during that age.
Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe
However, after two hundred years the Byzantines were kicked out by the Lombards, and the city lost its fame and melted into the backwaters of medieval Italy.
The nave of Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo
It was once a lagoon city with canals crisscrossing the town.
During the 15th century when Venice ruled over it, the canals were covered and the Piazza del Popolo, the elegant central square, was built.
A new canal to reconnect the city to the sea was built in the 1700s.
Dante spent the last 20 years of his life here, after he was exiled from Florence in 1302.
Many cultural events are conducted in in this artistic city and a few among them are Alighieri and Rasi Theaters, Ravenna Festival, Mosaico di Notte and the Antiques Market.
Where is Ravenna?
- 33.5 miles/ 54 km from Rimini, Italy
- 47.2 miles/ 76 km from Bologna, Italy
- 92.5 miles/ 149 km from Venice, Italy
- 102.5 miles/ 165 km from Ancona, Italy
- 113 miles/ 182 km from Florence, Italy
- 180.1 miles/ 290 km from Milan, Italy
- 218.7 miles/ 352 km from Rome, Italy
- 5.8 miles/ 9.4 km from Ravenna Airport, Italy
- 53.4 miles/ 86 km from Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport, Italy
- 93.2 miles/ 150 km from Ancona Falconara Airport, Italy
- 155.3 miles/ 250 km from Pisa International Airport, Italy
Things to See
The ceiling of Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna
- Mausoleo di Galla Placidia
- Battistero degli Ortodossi
- Battistermo degli Ariani
- Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo
- Basicila di San Vitale
- Chapel di Sant’ Andrea
- Mausoleo di Teodorico
- Porto Corsini
- Lido di Savio
- Mirabilandia Fun Park
- Ferrari Museum
- Dozza Walking Tour
Ravenna became a well known tourist destination because of its 1,500 years old churches that are decorated with the incredible Byzantine mosaics.
However, you will find that the peaceful charm of the untouristy and classic Ravenna is a pleasant surprise in your Italian wandering.
We wish you a fantastic Mediterranean cruise!