The CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA IN PORTO FUORI is a religious building located just outside the city of Ravenna on the way to the sea and near the small town of Porto Fuori.
With its stunning frescoes and famous for its description by Saint Peter Damian mentioned by Dante in his Comedy (Paradise, Canto XXI, v.123), the building has very ancient origins and underwent subsequent periods of historical and artistic development.
Various archaeological excavations carried out on the ruins of the church – raxed to the ground in 1944 and then rebuilt – showed that it was the expansion of a former three-nave structure datable between the 9th and 10th century, later remodeled at the beginning of the 12th century and finally restored at the beginning of the 14th century.
The new name “in Porto” probably overlapped the former “Nostra Donna in sul lito Adriano” on the occasion of the restoration of the church at the beginning of the 13th century.
At that time, the church was next to the largest port of Ravenna, connected to the city through one of its main watercourses, Baldareno. Products from all corners of the Adriatic Sea passed through this very port, and this area also hosted salt and goods warehouses as well as the customs offices of the city.
Many citizens of the time were involved in port activities, such as the supervision of ships passing through the canals, weighing and sorting of goods or the coordination of pilgrims and other travellers.