Nestled a few kilometers from the Adriatic Sea, in the heart of Romagna, Ravenna is a treasure chest of art, history and culture with an ancient and glorious past behind it.
Besides the extraordinary richness of its monumental heritage, its few kilometres distance from the Adriatic coast makes it a suggestive destination for relaxation and fun, as well as an ideal place for excursions immersed in nature.
With an efficient organisation of services and a very wide offering, in Ravenna and its territory you can enjoy a holiday tailored to your needs: sun and relaxation, sea, games, sports and fitness activities, excursions and themed parks, all accompanied by a varied and tasty gastronomic offering.
Starting from the beginning of the 5th century, Ravenna was a capital city three times: in the last moments of the Western Roman Empire (402-403), during the reign of the Goths under Theodoric (493-526), and then, 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 sites.
In addition, Ravenna preserves the remains of the Father of the Italian Language Dante Alighieri, and keeps his memory 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, some of which are of extreme beauty: a wide cultivated countryside, valleys and canals lined by the characteristic fishing huts and pine forests overlooking the sandy and well-equipped beaches.
The 35 kilometres of coastline feature 9 beach towns, each one with its peculiarities and for every type of holiday.
Nature and excursion lovers can immerse themselves in the natural beauties of the Po Delta Park, by observing the multitude of rare species of birds that find shelter here.
You can choose, for instance, the Oasis of Punte Alberete, the historic pine forests of San Vitale and Classe, the NatuRa Museum of Sant’Alberto, the southern Valley of Comacchio, or a canoe excursion to the oasis of Ortazzo and Ortazzino and to the mouth of the Bevano river.
Besides a visit to the eight Unesco World Heritage 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), there are many various cultural events in Ravenna in every season of the year.
There are so many places to see: you can visit the MAR - Ravenna Art Museum, which besides permanent collections (such as the Contemporary Mosaics collections) organises events and temporary high-profile collections; or the Tamo museum - All the Adventure of the Mosaic, hosted inside the complex of San Nicolò, with its permanent exhibition dedicated to the art of the mosaic from antiquity to contemporary times, or visit the National Museum of Ravenna with its rich collections, including Roman and Byzantine finds coming from local excavations.
Apart from the many already noted, you can also pay a visit to the Archiepiscopal Museum, Museo Dante 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.
The suggestive “Zone of silence” hidden in the city centre is absolutely worth seeing. The area includes Dante’s tomb, the Quadrarco of Braccioforte and the Basilica of San Francesco. Every year, in September, this area hosts a series of celebrations and spectacular events paying homage to the Supreme Poet.
In the silent rooms of the Classense Library are displayed important objects linked to Lord Byron and other important historical figures who stayed in the city. Moreover, the library hosts a huge collection of books and manuscripts that make it one of Italy's most prestigious library institutions.
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. The Rocca Brancaleone Fortress, of Venetian age, hosts a flourishing garden and an arena for outdoor performances.
The importance of Ravenna between the 5th and the 6th century is testified to by the precious mosaics preserved in its ancient late Christian and Byzantine buildings. Eight of these monuments have been inserted in the Unesco World Heritage list for their universal value, unicity and mastery of mosaic art.
Besides all of this, there are many other places of artistic and archaeological interest that have 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.
The art of eating well in Ravenna has strong roots that sink into the typical peasant knowledge of Romagna: simple and genuine products draw on local and traditional flavours and smells, conquering even the most difficult palates.
Piadina, cappelletti al ragù, passatelli in broth and caramelized figs with Squacquerone cheese are some of the typical dishes of the city. And don't forget a good glass of Sangiovese Superiore.
The city centre teems with entertainment places. From the historical Ca' de Vèn to the modern food hall Mercato Coperto: the city centre is full of places where you can taste a mouthwatering dish or just enjoy an aperitivo in good company.
The area of the City Dock (Darsena), just behind the train station, has become a popular meeting place for friends, families, but also for youngsters and sportspeople. The several pubs and open spaces embellished by street art murals make the whole area very suggestive and fascinating, recalling many other European cities.
In summer, the nightlife of the city moves to the beach establishments scattered along the coast, entertaining the public with a series of concerts and events until late at night, tailored to every taste and need.
Every year, at the beginning of summer, Ravenna Festival offers a packed calendar of events with the best artists and conductors on an international level, ranging from classical music to contemporary songs, without forgetting theatre and ballet.
The event schedule continues during 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, some of the most beautiful Unesco World Heritage monuments of Ravenna have been open to all tourists and art enthusiasts thanks to Mosaico di Notte (Mosaic by Night).
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 town of Marina di Ravenna, which becomes a reference point for the international Indie community; the second, Spiagge Soul, is a totally free festival that since 2009 has been livening up the summers on the beaches of Ravenna in the name of soul music.
September is, instead, the month traditionally dedicated to the Supreme Poet Dante Alighieri, with cultural events and international lectures on the Divine Comedy.
In the second weekend of October, Ravenna shines with its Notte d’Oro (Golden Night), with shows in the name of culture and entertainment.
Every two years, from October to November, the city is livened up by the Biennial of Contemporary Mosaics, with works and artists coming from all over the world to meet in the capital city of mosaics.
At the end of the year, during the Christmas holidays Ravenna in Luce offers the possibility to admire the streets of the city centre in an unusual way, with extraordinary light projections designed by the visionary minds of video mapping artists.
The territory surrounding Ravenna offers many possibilities made of beautiful landscapes, a rich artistic and cultural heritage, history and tradition.
Everywhere you go, it’s hard not to find unique realities. In the hinterland, among the towns nestled on the hills of Romagna, one above the others stands out: it’s Brisighella, acknowledged as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
From Brisighella, proceeding south towards the countryside is Faenza with its refined art of ceramics, and then Lugo and Bagnacavallo.
Northwards, crossing some of the most beautiful wet areas of the Po Delta Park, you can reach instead the extraordinary town of Comacchio.
South of Ravenna, on the other hand, the attention goes to Cervia, famous for its hospitality and its salt pans. But remember to stop in Mirabilandia, one of Italy's largest amusement parks, a meeting point for families and youngsters. Just on the other side of the street, moreover, is the zoological park Safari Ravenna, a zero-impact natural area where you can see and study animals up close.