Ravenna, Italy: The Mosaic City In The Northeastern Italy

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.

Basilica of Santa Maria in Porto, Ravenna, Italy - This wonderful church is known as a home to the Sanctuary of the Patroness of Ravenna - Greek Madonna (Madonna Greca). It is one of the attractions of the city and a must-see place if you are visiting the Emilia-Romagna region.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, Ravenna, Italy - This is the central square in Ravenna and a great place to enjoy Italian atmosphere and food in one of local cafes and restaurants. It is a popular square for tourists along with many wonderful churches and monuments Ravenna has to offer.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, Italy - This basilica near Ravenna, dedicated to St. Apollinaris, is a monument of Byzantine art. Lovely architecture and stunning mosaics are what make this basilica visit-worthy.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, Ravenna, Italy - This basilica church dates back to the 6th century and it is known for its stunning mosaics. The church is one of the popular landmarks of the city and it is close to other interesting attractions of Ravenna.

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?

where-is-ravenna-map

  • 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, Italy - This wonderful church, built in the Byzantine architectural style, is best known for its mosaics. The church is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and it is one of the landmarks of the city.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

Beaches

  • Marina
  • Porto Corsini
  • Lido di Savio

Excursions

  • 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!