We are in the Darsena area, just a few steps away from the Candiano Canal and from one of Ravenna’s liveliest neighbourhoods. Over the past few years, this area has become home to many meeting places, restaurants, clubs, sports and cultural centres, which have given new life to the neighbourhood and have made it into one of the most dynamic and popular ones. We highly recommend a walk around here at sunset, both for the landscape and for the food and cocktails.
You can start to explore the most multiethnical and “young” area of the city by going out of the railway station or by leaving your car in one of the many parking areas around it (Moro, Alighieri, Piazza Mameli and surrounding streets).
Piadina, bagels and spices
Walking towards the historical centre, the first stop is at the Speyer Gardens, small public gardens dedicated to the city of the German city of Speyer, twinned with Ravenna. Recently renovated with flower beds, benches and contemporary art installations, the gardens are part of an area gathering shops and food places offering flavours from Romagna, eastern Europe and Africa.
In the middle of this green area is the Basilica of San Giovanni Evangelista, built at the behest of empress Galla Placidia almost two thousand years ago, as a sign of gratitude after she survived a shipwreck.
Continue under the shadow of the trees of Viale Farini and you will get to Piazza Anita Garibaldi, so called because of the monument depicting the goddess Athena (Anita) offering a laurel wreath to a fallen soldier. This monument was named after Giuseppe Garibaldi‘s combative companion and the people from Ravenna who died for freedom at the end of the 19th century.
Brunch and books
Leave behind the square and you will encounter via di Roma that, along with via Diaz, via Mariani and via Paolo Costa, delimits a very lively quadrilateral of streets featuring bars and shops attracting many young people and university students.
Via Armando Diaz hosts cafés and bars with outdoor tables, large and bright perfumeries, shoe and clothing shops, herbalist shops, opticians and bookshops. Two very characteristic alleys are via Antica Zecca and via degli Ariani. The first one offers a very nice perspective, while the latter leads to one of the most beautiful corners of the city, embellished with casual clothing shops, restaurants, as well as the magnificent Arian Baptistery.
Going on along via Paolo Costa, towards the leaning Torre Civica, you will encounter other bars, clothing shops and restaurants offering both traditional and modern dishes. The pretty vicolo Padenna hosts two of the most famous bars of the city and marks the border of a part of the historical centre that is strongly frequented by young people.
At the end of via Diaz, before getting to Piazza del Popolo, is piazza Luigi Einaudi, little parlour offering a nice perspective on piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi and the Dante Alighieri Theatre.
Just a little further is Piazza del Popolo, hosting important institutional buildings, beating heart of the city, where it is possible to take a break by sitting on one of the marble benches or drinking a coffee in one of the many cafés.