Just a few kilometres South of Ravenna, the site of the Archaeological Park of Classe raises in all its grandeur. It is composed of the port and business area of the ancient city of Classe. ciao
It’s a park open to the public of about 10,000 sqm. It offers a synchronous visit experience to the ancient port of Classe of the period between the fifth and the sixth century a.D.
A bit of history
The settlement of Classe raised around the 27 b.C., on an initiative of Emperor Augustus. As a matter of fact, the emperor decided to set the military fleet in Ravenna, in order to safeguard the eastern part of the Mediterranean. The long canal port made of several basins was able to host up to 250 military ships.
After the capital of the Western Roman Empire moved from Milan to Ravenna, the settlement underwent some changes. At the beginning of the fifth century a.D., the port was reorganized in order to fully pursue its business aims; it had namely to receive, preserve and redistribute the great amount of goods and foodstuffs that arrived in the city.
In that moment, the Civita Classis that we still see today in the mosaic of the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo (sixth century a.D.) the site of the centre of Classe and its port originated.
The port became an important seaport on the Adriatic, the sea front door to the whole Po valley.
Sadly, the golden age didn’t last long though, less than two centuries. The economic crisis, the fall of the commercial traffic and the silting of the communication canals led to the decay of the area starting from the eighth century a.D.,
What to see
There are two ways to visit the Archaeological Park of Classe:
- freely, following the itinerary marked by information panels;
- with a professional guide, booking a guided tour.
Along the itinerary, you will see a series of panels that show the history of the Ancient Port of Classe, from its origins to its decay.
Walking along these remains of history, you can see the openings to the sea and the cobbled-stone Roman street used for the mooring. Moreover, you can enter those that once were the warehouses where the goods were storaged.
The installation of five perspectival panels are a reconstruction of those buildings. Melting with the actual surrounding landscape, they give a glimpse of what it used to look like during the port’s period of splendour.
During the recovery works, many objects such as marbles, lamps, amphoras, and valuable items are today exhibited inside the museum Classis. Along with the Ancient Port of Classe, the museum Classis Ravenna gives an accurate and updated picture of this area’s histsory between the fifth and the sixth century a.D.