Nestled in the heart of Romagna, RAVENNA is a chest of art, history and culture, with an ancient and glorious past behind.
Besides the extraordinary richness of its monumental heritage, the few kilometres distance from the Adriatic coast make it a suggestive tourist destination
With an efficient organization of services and a very wide offer, in Ravenna you can enjoy a holiday tailored on your needs. Sun, sea, relaxation, fun, sports, excursions immersed in nature, themed parks await you, all-sided by a varied and tasty gastronomic offer.
Starting from the beginning of the 5th century, Ravenna was three times capital. First, at the end of the Western Roman Empire (402-403), during the Gothic reign of Theodoric (493-526), and under the Byzantine dominion (553-751).
The magnificence of that period has left in the city a great heritage, including 8 monuments that have been declared Unesco heritage.
In addition, the remains of the Father of the Italian Language Dante Alighieri rest here. His memory is kept alive throughout the year with important dedicated events.
The territory around the city, which is the second widest in Italy, presents a remarkable variety of landscapes. All the area is of extreme beauty: a wide countryside, valleys and canals sided by the characteristic fishing nets, the pine forests overlooking the sandy beaches.
The 35 kilometres of coast host 9 seaside resorts, each with its peculiarities, for every type of sojourn.
Nature and excursion lovers can explore the beauties of the Po Delta Park, where a multitude of rare species of birds find shelter.
Don’t miss the Oasis of Punte Alberete, the historic pine forests of San Vitale and Classe, the NatuRa Museum of Sant’Alberto. Moreover, you will find many excursions to the southern Lagoon of Comacchio, to the oases of Ortazzo and Ortazzino, and to the Bevano river mouth.
Besides a visit to the eight Unesco monuments (Basilica of San Vitale, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Neonian Baptistery, Chapel of Sant’Andrea or Archiepiscopal Chapel, Arian Baptistery, Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Mausoleum of Theodoric, Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe), the cultural offer of Ravenna is rich and varied in every season of the year.
There are so many places to see: you can visit the MAR – Ravenna Art Museum, which, besides the permanent collections (such as the Contemporary Mosaics collections), organizes events and temporary high-profile exhibitions. The museum Tamo – All the Adventure of the Mosaic, hosted inside the complex of San Nicolò, displays permanent collections dedicated to the art of the mosaic from Antiquity to contemporary age. Or again, visit the National Museum of Ravenna, the many finds on display, including Roman and Byzantine finds from local excavations, will tell you about Ravenna history.
The suggestive “Zona del Silenzio”, hidden in the city centre, is absolutely worth seeing. The area includes Dante’s tomb, the Quadrarco di Braccioforte and the Basilica of San Francesco. Every year in September, right in this area, are taking place celebrations and spectacular events paying homage to the Supreme Poet.
The silent rooms of the Classense Library preserve important objects linked to Lord Byron and other important figures that stayed in the city. Moreover, the library hosts a huge collection of books and manuscripts, being one of the most prestigious library institutions in Italy.
The Planetarium of Ravenna is located inside the public gardens of the city (Giardini Pubblici), which, almost as a frame, overlook the 16th century-old Loggetta Lombardesca, house of the MAR Museum. Not far from there, the Brancaleone Fortress, of Venetian age, hosts a flourishing garden and an arena for open-air performances.
Ravenna’s importance between the 5th and the 6th century is testified by the precious mosaics guarded in the late Christian and Byzantine buildings. Eight of these monuments are Unesco World Heritage for their universal value, the unicity and the mastery of the mosaic art.
Nevertheless, many are the places of artistic and archaeological interest that marked the city’s past, such as the Domus of the Stone Carpets, the Ancient Port of Classe, and the recent Classis Ravenna – Museum of the City and of the Territory.
If on the one hand Ravenna has been the main western political and cultural centre in the centuries that followed the end of the Latin civilization’s dominion, on the other hand it preserves important traces of more recent eras, from the Middle Ages until the contemporary age: the tomb of the Supreme Poet Dante Alighieri (with the suggestive “Area of Silence”), the Brancaleone Fortress, the Classense Library, the City Tower and its monumental gates are all proof of that.
The cultural offer of the city is rich and diversified, thanks also to a dense network of museum structures. Besides the already mentioned monuments, not to forget are the Archiepiscopal Museum, which hosts the Chapel of Sant’Andrea (Unesco Heritage), Dante Museum with relics linked to the cult and the fame of Dante Alighieri, and the Byron Museum, connected to the memory of the English poet, which collects engravings, documents, objects of the Risorgimento and memories of Garibaldi.
But Ravenna is not just history and monuments. From the historical Ca’ de Vèn to the modern food hall Mercato Coperto the city centre is teeming with bars, restaurants and cafès. You will find anything you need: a mouthwatering dish or just an Aperitivo to enjoy in good company.
The area of the City Dock (Darsena), just behind the train station, is becoming a rendezvous for friends, families, youngsters and sportsmen. The several pubs and the open spaces embellished by street art murals make the whole area very suggestive, recalling most Mitteleuropean realities.
During the summer, the “movida” (nightlife) moves to the beach clubs scattered along the coast, entertaining with concerts and events until late at night.
Every year, at the beginning of summer, the Ravenna Festival offers a rich calendar of events. The best artists and directors at international level, ranging from classical music to contemporary songs are on the festival’s stages, without forgetting theatre and dancing.
The event schedule continues during the autumn, when thanks to the Autumn Trilogy, night after night, three different operas will be on the same stage.
For over twenty years, during the summer nights, Mosaic by Night opens some of the most beautiful Unesco monuments to tourists and estimators of art.
Again in summer, two unmissable music festivals with one thing in common: the beach. The first, Beaches Brew Fest, takes place in the splendid frame of the beach resort of Marina di Ravenna, which becomes on this occasion a reference point for the international ‘Indie’ community; the second, Spiagge Soul, is a totally free festival that since 2009 has been living up the summers on the beaches of Ravenna in the name of soul music.
September is, instead, traditionally the month entirely dedicated to the Supreme Poet Dante Alighieri, with cultural events and international lectures of the Divine Comedy.
In the second weekend of October, Ravenna shines with the Notte d’Oro, the white night of the city. The streets of the city centre liven up with events of every kin, shows, late openings, all in the name of culture and entertainment.
Every two years, from October to November, there’s the Biennial Festival of Contemporary Mosaic, with works and artists arriving from all over the world to meet in the capital city of the mosaic.
Closing the year, Ravenna in Luce takes place during the Christmas season: a path of guided tours and wonder across the city centre. The city is enlightened by the extraordinary light projections designed by the visionary minds of video mapping artists.