One day in Ravenna, Italy

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The last stop of the International Blog Tour was Ravenna, city that I've never visited before and part of the Unesco sites list. This is a city you cannot miss, one of the top travel destinations that should be inserted in the bucket list of each traveller.

Diaries of an explorer


Added as "Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna" because of its "unique collection of early Christian mosaics and monuments", Ravenna displays also other interesting attractions to visit.


For this reason I will follow an ideal trip itinerary you can follow in order to see the main attractions and buildings.

The starting point is the railway station, where you can leave your luggage or rent a bike (you have to turn left once left the building), and then you turn right and walk until you don't find the public garden, located in the  

1) Roccaforte Brancaleone

It was an old Venetian fortress built in the 16th Century that contains the public gardens. A part of the fortress is not open to the public and is used as events location.
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer


2) Mausoleum of Theodoric

Not far from the Rocca Brancaleone, you can find the Mausoleum of Theodoric, built in 520 A.D., entirely made of Istria Stone. The ticket costs 4 Euros ( not included in the combo ticket of other Unesco sites)
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
In its interior there is a circular porhyry tub in which it is supposed that Theodoric was buried ( moved from the Theodoric palace).
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
The lower level has not something particular to show, as the decorations were gradually stripped off during the course of centuries.

3) The city walls and the gates

Ravenna has still part of its old city walls and gates like the Porta Serrata
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
and Porta Adriana
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer

 

4) Basilica of San Vitale

First of all you can buy the combo-ticket to visit the Basilica of San Vitale, the Mausoleum of Gallia Placida, Arian Baptistery, St Andrew's Chapel, Basilica of St. Apollinare Nuovo. The ticket costs 11,5 Euros and you can use it for 7 days.

Built in the 6th Century A.D., Basilica of San Vitale is the most impressive church seen in Ravenna. Its main feature is the central octagonal plan surmounted by a large cupola.
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
However, the best part is absolutely the interior and the first thing you are the superb mosaic decorations
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
and we can see the extraordinary representation of the imperial couple of Byzantine Empire, Justinian and Theodra with their court.
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
It is one of the most beautiful basilicas ever seen and somehow it reminds me the Cathedral of Aachen. Please do not miss some unknown places around the basilica such this one:
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer

5) Mausoleum of Gallia Placida

Once left the Basilica of San Vitale, you can find the Mausoleum of Gallia Placida, where the emperor and his wife  Gallia Placida were buried. Built during the 5th Century, the exterior is quite sober,
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
but once you cross the door you will enjoy the fantastic Ravenna mosaics, in particular a cupola with stars
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorerInternational Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
and the graves of Gallia Placida and the emperor
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
and also other superb mosaics.

6) Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra

You can find the Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra (Domus of the Stone Carpets) inside the Church of St. Eufemia, not far from the Basilica of San Vitale and part of the route Ravenna Antica, or Ancient Ravenna. For 4 Euros you can see other Ravenna mosaics and for 7 Euros also the Crypta Rasponi and other attractions of Ravenna Antica. Due to lack of time I could not visit the Domus of Tappeti di Pietra, but if you have time, local people strongly recommended to do it.
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
Source: Sistemamusei.ra.it
The exploration of Ravenna goes on: after the first part I'm proud to show you the city symbols of this wonderful city.

After the Church of Sant'Eufemia you can walk along Via Cavour, a nice shopping street and reach the nice squares of the city.

7) The squares of Ravenna


A nice place where to hava a coffee is the Caffè Corte Cavour
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer




then Piazza A. Costa with its "covered" market ( Mercato Coperto):
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
and then if you walk along Via IV Novembre you can reach Piazza del Popolo, the heart of Ravenna.
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
The last important square is Piazza Garibaldi, with the statue of the famous Italian hero.
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer

8) The Neonian (Orthodox) Baptistery and the Archiepiscopal Museum


Not far from Piazza Garibaldi you can find another complex of Unesco sites, the Neonian (Orthodox) Baptistery and the Archiepiscopal Museum.
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
The Neonian (Orthodox) Baptistery is the most ancient monument in Ravenna: built at the end of the 4th or the beginning of the 5th Century A.D. its interior is decorated with bright mosaics that reflect the Hellenic- Roman influence.
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorerInternational Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
Left the Neonian Baptistery, you can go to the closer Archiepiscopal Museum, that displays two masterpieces such as the St.Andrew's Chapel and the Ivory Throne. Pictures are not allowed there, but they are impressive.

9) Palazzo della Provincia and Dante Alighieri's Grave and Museum


Close to the Neonian Baptistery there's the Palazzo della Provincia
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
and the most important monument: the grave of Dante Alighieri, the most important Italian poet, died here in Ravenna.
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorerInternational Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
The museum has this nice cloister.
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer

10) Basilica of St. Apollinare Nuovo


This basilica was built in the 6th Century as Theodoric's palatinate church.
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer

The most impressive part, however, is the interior with its magnificient mosaics that represent the procession of Virgins and Martyrs.
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorerInternational Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorerInternational Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer


11) Palace of Theodoric


This building is not exactly the power centre of the emperor Theodoric: there's a debate about its destination. Some historians identify it as a guard building and other historians think it was a part of the old church of  San Salvatore. Unfortunately it's no possible to visit.
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer


12) Arian Baptistery


The last attraction of the Unesco sites of Ravenna is the Arian Baptistery: this time the entrance is completely free. Built at the end of the 5th Century. On the dome there is a beautiful mosaic depicting the baptism of Christ and the 12 Apostoles.
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer
International Blog Tour, Diaries of an explorer

From the baptistery it's really easy to reach the railway station.

Where to stay:

  • Budget accomodation: B&B Beatrice, not far from railway station and the main attractions, around 50-60 Euros per night per double room. 
  • Medium budget: Toscanini Rooms, at just 200 meters from Basilica San Vitale, approximately 90-100 Euros per night, suitable for 2 people and breakfast included.
  • Luxury accomodation: Ai Giardini di San Vitale, suite rooms located at just 200 meters from Basilica of San Vitale, around 140-150 per night per double room, breakfast included.

Travel tips:
  • This itinerary lasts 6 hours;
  • In a day you can also visit the Basilica of St. Apollinare in Classe and its archaeological area: I had no time to do this, but I strongly recommend you to do this. In less than 10 minutes of train, you reach Classe and the ticket costs 5 Euros.
  • The luggage deposit is outside of the station and you find it on the leftside. Leaving the luggage there costs 3 or 5 Euros per day depending on the size of your bags. You can also rent a bike and this could be a good way to visit the city even if I would recommend you to walk.
  • If decide to do the Ancient Ravenna route, besides St. Apollinare in Classe, maybe the ideal time is a couple of days.
  • If I had time, I would have stopped by the restaurant "Locanda del Melarancio" in Via Mentana 33. Budget price and one of the best restaurants or pizzerias of the city.
For sure Ravenna is one of the top travel destinations ever seen and one of the best Unesco sites: the beauty of the city is combined with a little historical centre where people use the bycicle as transport. This is a big difference from other Italian cities where people use more the car.

4 commenti:

Cocoa and Lavender said...

I was so sad we didn't get to Ravenna when we were in Venezia last fall. Thanks for the virtual tour - I know it will be on our list for the next trip! ~ David

Marco Zannin said...

Thanks a lot David! You know when you have the impression you could live in a city when you visit it? Have you ever experienced it? Well I got it when I visited Ravenna! :-)

Irene S. Levine said...

Lovely pictures that brought back many memories of our visit.

Marco Zannin said...

Thanks a lot Irene! :-) I'm glad to hear this post brought back many memories. I hope to come back soon and get the same feelings! :-)

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