Ravenna has an ancient history and was the capital of three very important kingdoms, which left behind spectacular cultural treasures: the Western Roman Empire, the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths and the Byzantine Exarchate.

Known all over the world as the “city of mosaic", Ravenna attracts every day visitors who are astonished by the colorful and precious mosaics. In fact, there are eight monuments that have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO: the Basilica of Saint Vitale, an immense example of refined early Christian Art; the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, with the beautiful vault decorated with a starry sky; the Neonian Baptistery, the oldest monument in Ravenna; the Basilica of Saint Apollinare Nuovo, with the largest mosaic area in the world; the Archiepiscopal Chapel , the only Orthodox monument built during the reign of Theodoric; the Basilica of Saint Apollinare in Classe, which houses the marble sarcophagi of the ancient archbishops; the Mausoleum of Theodoric, built entirely of Istrian stone; and, finally, the Baptistery of the Arians, with its dome covered with mosaics depicting the baptism of Christ.

In addition, one of the most important historical figures of Ravenna is Dante Alighieri, who lived here his last years in peace after his exile. There are many places in the city linked to the memory of the Supreme Poet, first of all his Tomb, located outside the Church of Saint Francesco.

The Basilica of San Francesco

With its distinctly Romanesque shapes, the Basilica of Saint Francesco is considered one of the most beautiful and fascinating churches of the city. Through a window placed under the high altar, you can see the crypt of the Tenth century, whose floor is constantly submerged by water, but you can still admire the mosaic fragments of the floor of the original church. The Church was particularly loved and frequented by Dante Alighieri, so that right inside it was celebrated his solemn funeral on 13th September 1321.

The Basilica of Saint Vitale

One of the most important monuments of early Christian art in Italy and the world, the Basilica of Saint Vitale is located in the heart of the city of Ravenna. Conceived to bear witness to the Byzantine imperial greatness, the building stands out for the refinement and preciousness of its decorations and materials used: as soon as you enter it, the gaze is immediately captured by the beautiful mosaic decorations of the apse showing the emperors Theodora and Justinian while standing hieratic on a gold background.

The Basilica of San Apollinare in Classe

Just outside the small town of Classe, not far from Ravenna, stands one of the eight monuments that form the UNESCO site of the city: it is the great and solemn Basilica of Saint Apollinare in Classe with its characteristic cylindrical bell tower. Created to accommodate the remains of Apollinaris, patron Saint of the city, the Basilica was built between the end of the second and the beginning of the third century A.D. and has been defined as the greatest example of early Christian Basilica known today.

The Basilica of Saint Apollinare Nuovo

The Basilica of Saint Apollinare Nuovo is one of the oldest churches in Ravenna and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. Inside it there is one of the most famous early Christian antique mosaic cycles in the world: The 26 Christological scenes, dated back to the period of Theoderic, represent in fact the largest monumental cycle of the New Testament and, among those made in mosaic, the oldest that has come down to us.

The Baptistery of the Arians

The Baptistery of Arians, one of the eight monuments that form the UNESCO site of Ravenna, was built towards the end of the fifth century in the square of the current Church of the Holy Spirit by Theodoric, who consolidated his rule by making Arianism the official religion. The decoration is present in the dome, covered with golden mosaics depicting the procession of the twelve Apostles and in the central clipeo, which celebrates the baptism of Jesus Christ.

The Neonian Baptistery

The Neonian Baptistery is one of the oldest monuments in Ravenna and is part of the city circuit of the early Christian buildings considered by UNESCO World Heritage Site. The magic of the mosaics kept inside is such that even Carl Gustav Jung, one of the fathers of Psychoanalysis, was so much impressed by it to describe his visit as a wonderful "hallucination". The mosaic in the center of the dome is the oldest evidence of a scene of the baptism of Jesus Christ in a monumental building.

The Archiepiscopal Chapel

Built at the beginning of the 5th century A.D. at the behest of Bishop Peter II, the Archiepiscopal Chapel (or of Saint Andrea Chapel) is located inside the Archbishop’s Museum of Ravenna. The entire decorative programme of the chapel is a hymn to the Saviour, to whom the building is dedicated, in a clearly anti-arian interpretation. The presence of Christ as a warrior, the cross on the shoulder, the monogram and the face dominate at various points confirming the iconographic interpretation.

The Dock

The Dock of Ravenna is the former industrial area of the city that was recently affected by a redevelopment project of its abandoned spaces, aimed at returning them to the city, called "Dock in the City". Through a pedestrian underpass next to the station you reach the heart of the dock and enter a totally renovated environment, where you can find trendy clubs and street art works of the highest level.

The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

Considered by many as one of the most precious treasures of the city, the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is one of the oldest buildings in Ravenna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. When you enter you are immediately fascinated by the magical atmosphere that the mosaic decorations can convey, emphasized by the golden light that filters through the alabaster windows. At the center of the dome, in an immense starry sky, appears in all its splendor a golden Latin cross, symbol of Christ, Rising Sun.

The Mausoleum of Theodoric

One of the most iconic monuments of Ravenna included among the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, The Mausoleum of Theodoric, built in 520 A.D. by King Theodoric as his burial, is entirely made of blocks of Istrian stone and consists of two overlapping bodies, both decagonal. The remains of the Emperor were removed during the Byzantine rule, following the edict of Justinian in 561, when the Mausoleum was transformed into an oratory and consecrated to Orthodox worship.

The Covered Market

The history of the Covered Market dates back to the ninth century, in this same place in the course of history there have been several city markets and the building we know today is the result of evolutions and renovations over the centuries. Today the Covered Market comes back to be the heart of Ravenna, redeveloped and returned to citizens for a new way of shopping and meeting to know, taste and buy the excellences of Romagna.

The Classis Ravenna Museum

The Classis Ravenna Museum is one of the most important archaeological museums in Italy, as well as a real journey through the history of Ravenna. Once inside the museum, we set off on a dizzying journey through the thousand-year history of the Byzantine capital, which from the origins of the city transports us to the early Middle Ages. Observing the various sections you find yourself in front of ancient relics and materials dated back to prehistoric times, to the Etruscan civilization, to the Roman era, to the Gothic and Byzantine, up to the Middle Ages.

The Tomb of Dante Alighieri

In the heart of medieval Ravenna there is a small corner of peace and respect dedicated to the memory of Dante Alighieri, Father of the Italian Language. It is here that in the shadow of a large oak tree planted by Giosuè Carducci at the beginning of the 20th century stands his tomb, the last resting place of the Supreme Poet. The interior of the tomb, covered with marble on the occasion of the Centenary of 1921, preserves the sepulchral ark that contains the bones of Dante with the low relief by the sculptor Pietro Lombardo.

Here’s what you can do in Ravenna!

These are just some of the experiences you can find in Ravenna.