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Extended Travel: Ravenna, Italy


Best known for holding a treasure trove of World Heritage monuments from the early Christian, Byzantine Era, Ravenna has small town charm packed centuries of history. It’s beauty has inspired poetry and literature so it is fitting that here is where Dante Alighieri (of Dante’s Inferno) was buried in 1321 after being exiled from Florence.

Mausoleum of Theodoric

Mausoleum of Theodoric

The eight sites on the World Heritage List Ravenna are a must-see for all lovers of art history:

  • Neonian Baptistery (c. 430) – The oldest site in Ravenna and partially erected atop a Roman bath with a ceiling mosaic depicting John the Baptist baptizing Christ.
  • Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (c. 430) – A Roman mausoleum, the earliest and best preserved of all mosaic monuments and one of the most artistically perfect.
  • Arian Baptistry (c. 500) – Built by Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great, it has a stunning ceiling of gold mosaics.
  • Archiepiscopal Chapel (c. 500) – A chapel on the first floor of the bishops’ palace in Ravenna, Italy, the smallest of the famous mosaic sites of the city.
  • marina-di-ravenna

  • Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo (c. 500) – A basilica church erected by the Ostrogoth King Theodoric as his palace chapel, it is one of the most important buildings in European religious art
  • Mausoleum of Theodoric (520) – Built by Theodoric the Great as his future tomb, his remains were removed during Byzantine rule, when the mausoleum was turned into a Christian oratory. It is the only tomb from this era of a king.
  • Basilica of San Vitale (548) – One of the most important examples of early Christian Byzantine Art and architecture in western Europe.
  • Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare in Classe (549) – Filled with mosaics and sarcophagi from different centuries, this imposing structure was probably built on top of a pre-existing pagan one, as some of the ancient tombstones were re-used in its construction.

There is an airport in the town of Forli’ about 20 km from Ravenna which is served by budget airline Ryanair. If coming from a larger city by train, it is only a 90-minute detour from the main Venice–Florence line, there are also main lines to Bologna and Rimini. From the station, walk straight down Viale Farini to Piazza del Popolo, from which most of the main sites are only a few minutes walk.

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