The DARSENA AREA OF RAVENNA looks like some unusual suburbs in the urban framework of the city.
Compared to the historical centre, rich in history, churches and mosaics, this area – once on the sidelines of the ancient Byzantine capital – is today a hotbed of growth in the near future.
If you come to Ravenna by train, you will immediately feel the evocative power of this area around the Corsini canal, which stretches towards the sea and the horizon.
The Darsena area is a large hotbed of growth in the near future
A step back in time
This area, which has always been connected to production activities related to water transport, has largely and surprisingly developed around the Candiano canal (also known as Corsini canal or simply Darsena) over the last century.
In 1737, plans were made to build link between the historical centre and the Adriatic Sea. The area of the Darsena thus became highly productive and saw the construction of bloomeries, cement plants, mills, and factories for the manufacturing of grains and fertilizers.
Between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the area of the Darsena was the actual port of the city, and was deeply renovated from the industrial point of view.
Everything lasted until the ’70s, when the area was not considered suitable for the development of large industrial plants. The port began to move and left many abandoned factories behind.
The landscape and the civil society were radically transformed by crumbling port infrastructures, witnesses of a fascinating and evocative industrial archaeology.
The area of the Darsena, between present and past
The area of the Darsena represents the core of the development of Ravenna during the 21st century, where old buildings and innovative projects meet industrial archaeology and street art.
In the last few years, the area around the canal has become innovative and cool. Many of the old warehouses have been redeveloped and converted into cocktail bars and restaurants, leaving room for peculiar structures such as Darsena PopUp.
Along the canal that was once used to transport goods, it is possible to feel an atmosphere of innovation and nightlife especially at sunset, when it becomes a perfect place to sip a drink, have dinner or hang out at after dinner.
The multicultural centres and many walls of buildings – both public and private ones – in the area, have been used as blank canvases for street artists from all over the world, making the Darsena an actual open-air museum.
What to do
This area, located just 10 minutes away from the historical centre and just behind the railway station, is definitely worth a visit.
It is easily reachable on foot through two underground passages, but it is also equipped with a large parking area where you can park your car and then go for a walk.
The docks are frequented by many people every day.
Some go there to walk, some with children, some to have a cold beer at sunset or an ice cream with friends, others to run around the canal, with a loop trail of about 5 kilometres.
Then there are exhibitions, street markets and cultural events giving life to the neighbourhood all year round.