Official Tourist Information Site
Municipality of Ravenna

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The glorious past of Ravenna through archaeology and its testimonies

Ravenna is without doubt one of the most important Italian, European and Mediterranean Early Christian cities, so much so that it was made capital three times between the fifth and sixth centuries.

But for visitors there is still a lot to discover. Its history dates back to the sixth century B.C. when the first pile-dwellings were built on the small islands of the Valle Padusa and when the whole area became increasingly important with its first infrastructures during the Roman domination.

These included the port, strongly desired by Octavian Augustus in the first century B.C. as the Po Valley outlet and the base for a 250-boat military fleet controlling the eastern seas. This was partly due to an imposing connecting canal (Fossa Augustea) between the Po and the city basin south of the city.

After the capital of the Western Roman Empire was transferred to Ravenna in 402, and the subsequent Gothic and Byzantine domination, the city maintained its prominent image and prestigious role both under the power of the Ottoni family and later under the municipal order and Venetian domination.

Recent studies on the history of the city have made considerable progress and unveiled many precious monuments which, together with the splendid monuments already known because they are included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, offer visitors further pieces of this city’s glorious past and contribute to a more complete picture of its historical context.

Many of these archaeological discoveries are already accessible to the general public in museums, great basilicas and stately palaces, but can also be found in the streets and squares and all around the city, in the countryside and on the coast.