Official Tourist Information Site
of Ravenna

Follow the ways of

Poets and Travellers

“Ravenna stands as it long years has stood” (Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy, Inferno XXVII)

Ravenna is a magical city. The splendour of its artistic and architectural masterpieces, together with the richness of its historical and political heritage and the preponderant influence of its natural surroundings made this melting-pot of cultures, in its most fecund times, a haven of intellectuals, poets, writers, artists and travellers.

We are talking about leading figures of our culture, who found here creative inspiration, inputs for their studies, peace for their eyes and food for their mind. From the poet par excellence, Dante Alighieri, who here wrote Paradiso and died in exile in 1321, to Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo, who in 1999 rewrote the history of this city, causing quite a stir.

Or again, we can not forget those sentimental travellers, the poets George Byron, who lived in Ravenna from 1819 to 1821 and Oscar Wilde, who discovered Ravenna on horseback in 1877, right up to Thomas Stearns Eliot, who set his alienating Honeymoon (1916) here, and finally Gabriele D’Annunzio and Ezra Pound.

All of them captured this city – and everything it represents – with their pens: firmly rooted in history and ancient culture, Ravenna was for them an inexhaustible treasure chest of intense feelings and artistic inspiration.

Ravenna bestowed its captivating atmospheres, quotations and remembrances of a cultured life to writers Henry James, Hermann Hesse and Marguerite Yourcenar.

A city of visionaries and of visions, Ravenna shook up and moved the fathers of psychoanalysis, first Sigmund Freud (1869) and then Carl Gustav Jung (1913-1933) as well as artists who transferred the magical imagery of its light, colours and shapes onto canvas or into music. This was the case of Gustav Klimt (1903), the immortal painter, and Cole Porter, one of the fathers of American jazz.

In honour of the multitude of intellectual admirers who have made this city immortal all over the world, Ravenna has created two literary itineraries − in Via Mazzini and in Darsena, on the walkway that runs along the Candiano Canal − where an installation of panels displays brief reflections or selected quotes from the works of many of these great authors.

Ravenna can boast unique events and situations, such as can strike every other inhabitant of this world with wonder. 
(Dario Fo, Ravenna Excites Wonder, 1999)