Ravenna , Province of Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna
Ravenna is situated inland, but is connected to the Adriatic Sea by a canal. Once the capital of the Byzantine Roman Empire and later the Ostrogothic kingdom, has eight of its monuments listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Altitude: 4 m a.s.l
- Population: about 150,000 inhabitants
- Zip/postal code: 48100
- Dialing Area Code: +39 0544
- Patron Saint: St. Apollinare, celebrated on 23rd July
- Demonym: ravennati (formerly ravegnani)
- GPS Coordinates: 44.25.4.N - 12.11.58.E
It was an important base of the Roman fleet, and Classis (from the Latin for fleet) was the name given to port, protected by its walls. The imperial Porta Aurea of Classis was demolished only in the 16th century. Columns from Classis were scattered among Christian churches in Ravenna, and even to Venice.
After 404, when Ravenna was an imperial residence, it gained its most famous monuments, both secular (demolished) and Christian (largely preserved). In 493 Ravenna became was the capital of Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths. After the battle of Verona, Odoacer retreated to Ravenna, where he withstood a siege of three years by Theodoric, until the conquest of Rimini deprived Ravenna of supplies. Theodoric employed Roman architects for secular and religious structures, including the lost Palace near San Apollinare Nuovo. The palace was sacked by the Byzantines in 539, then became the seat of the exarchs and of the King of the Lombards. Charlemagne took away columns of this palace for his own palace at Aachen. The last tower that remained of the palace of Theodoric was destroyed in 1295.
Following the conquests of Belisarius for Emperor Justinian I in the sixth century AD, Ravenna became the seat of the Byzantine governor of Italy, the Exarch, and was known as the Exarchate of Ravenna. After the Byzantine withdrawal Ravenna was ruled by legates of the Pope as one of the Papal States. It became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.
What to see
- The 18th century Cathedral on the site of the 4th century basilica, renamed in the 9th century as Sant'Apollinare Nuovo. Its apse and atrium underwent modernization at various times, but the mosaics of the lateral walls, twenty-four columns, and an ambon are preserved;
- The church of San Giovanni Evangelista, rebuilt in Gothic style and stripped of its mosaics in 1747, with some Roman columns;
- The archiepiscopal palace of San Pietro Crisologo with a square chapel decorated with mosaics;
- San Giovanni in Fonte, an Orthodox baptistery, built over the calidarium (warm pool) of public Roman baths on the same site. It is of octagonal shape, with interior walls and vault covered with mosaics. In the centre of the dome is the baptism of Christ with a personification of the River Jordan; around are the twelve Apostles and below are other figures, possibly the prophets.
- The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, which contains the finest mosaics of Ravenna. Built in the shape of a Greek cross with a dome entirely in mosaics, three sarcophagi, the largest possibly of Galla Placidia.
- The Mausoleum of Theodoric built in 520 AD by Theodoric the Great as his future tomb, divided into two superimposed decagonal orders made of Istria stone, with the roof a single 300-ton Istria stone, 10 metres wide. A central circular porphyry tub inside is where Theodoric was supposeddly buried, though his remains were removed during the Byzantine period.
- nine seaside boroughs: Casal Borsetti, Lido di Savio, Lido di Classe, Lido di Dante, Lido Adriano, Marina di Ravenna, Marina Romea, Porto Corsini, and Savio.
- Lido di Savio a seaside resort between the mouths of the Bevano and Savio rivers next to Milano Marittima, with a fine pinewood offering mountain bike itineraries.
- Marina Romea, included in the Delta Po Natural Park, with a coastline of age-old pinewoods and sandy dunes, and the Pialassa Baiona lagoon in the
- Mirabilandia theme park at Savio, one of the most famous and largest theme parks in Italy, open from April to October
- Pull Out Ravenna, a parachuting school and centre also for beginners.
Where to stay
Contact us with details and priorities.