Explore the Treasures of Ravenna, Italy

Europe - Editor - 14 January 2008

Explore the Treasures of Ravenna, Italy

The city of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy has a long and illustrious history stretching back to before 49 B.C. when Julius Caesar gathered his forces there before his famous crossing of the Rubicon River. Ravenna later served as an important base for the Roman imperial fleet and as the seat of the Western Roman Empire. These days the fascinating city of Ravenna is landlocked with a canal connecting it to the Adriatic Sea and serves as the capital city of the province of Ravenna.

Due to the many changes in rulership over the centuries of Ravenna’s existence, there are many historical places of interest to visit and explore. The United Nation’s World Heritage List includes eight of Ravenna’s early Christian monuments – the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Baptistery, the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, the Arian Baptistery, the Archiepiscopal Chapel, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Church of San Vitale and the Basilica of San’Appolinare in Classe. These historic buildings have been given UNESCO World Heritage Site status in recognition of their architectural style and unique collection of perfectly preserved early Christian mosaics, which are considered to be of outstanding universal value. All eight of the buildings were constructed during the 5th and 6th centuries of our common era, and are some of the finest examples of a blend of Greco-Roman tradition together with Christian iconography which has been influenced by oriental and Western styles. The tradition and skill of mosaic making continues in Ravenna to this day, with artists using the same tools, materials and ancient techniques that were used in these historical treasures.

Ravenna in Italy is fairly close to the city of Venice, and tourists visiting that exquisite city can make use of the many tours available that will either take them driving or walking through Ravenna. Tours generally include all eight of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as a visit to the workshops of mosaic artists. Other attractions in the city include the Rocco Brancaleone, which once formed part of the city walls built by the Venetians in 1457. This is now a beautiful public park which is divided into two parts – the Castle and the Citadel. There is a National Museum with a wealth of cultural and historical information about the area. The basilica of Santa Maria from the 16th century houses the image of the famous Greek Madonna, believed to have been brought to Ravenna from Constantinople.

With so many interesting culturally and historically rich places to explore, Ravenna is certainly a city that tourists traveling around the beautiful country of Italy should include in their itinerary.


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