The museum CLASSIS RAVENNA is one of the most important archaeological museums in Italy: it is a real journey in the history of Ravenna.
Just a few hundreds metres from the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, the museum stretches over a 2,800 sqm surface. It is the result of an articulate project of industrial archaeology that restored and renovated a former abandoned sugar factory.
To welcome the visitors is a glittering staircase decorated with a 33 metre-long wave in mosaic in shades of blue created by Laboratorio di Restauro del Mosaico Antico of Fondazione RavennAntica: it is an amazing artwork that allures you up to the museum’s entrance, highlighting the strong connection between Ravenna and the sea, since forever.
What to see
Once inside, you immediately start your dizzy journey in the millennial history of the Byzantine capital: from its origins, you will arrive up to the Middle Ages. A timeline will lead you all the way through the museum, keeping track of your journey; step by step you will find all the main information of the different time periods.
Looking at the different sections, you will see ancient findings, dating back to the pre-Roman age or the Etruscan-Umbrian period. Your journey continues across the Roman era, from the Classical Age to Late Christianity. Then, after a small digression in the Gothic and Byzantine era, you will finally reach the Middle Ages.
Besides the most common items — such as urns and oil lamps coming from the diggings of the Ancient Port of Classe — you will see face to face statues, memorial stones, polychrome mosaics, further livened up by multimedia reconstructions, films and much more. A floor mosaic not to be missed is the one coming from the legendary so-called Theodoric’s Palace.
The exhibition doesn’t follow just a progressive timeline, but it also focuses on some fundamental aspects of the city’s ancient history. This is the case of the section of Ravenna as a multiethnic city; to the artworks it preserves; or, again, to the city’s growth and urban development.
A special chapter is for the tight relationship between Ravenna and the sea. It is not by chance that the museum is located in Classe. The city of Classe was namely the ancient site of the Roman fleet, as well as an important port that in the Late Christian period has made Ravenna a power of the Mediterranean.
Lastly, the itinerary offers an insight on the Basilica of San Severo, a very suggestive place of the ancient civitas Classis, which in the last years has been the focus of an archaeological project that will turn it into the fourth tessera of the Archaeological Park.