Ravenna is a treasure chest of art, history and culture, a city with ancient origins and a glorious past. From the beginning of the 5th century, the city has been the capital of the declining Western Roman Empire (AD 402-403), of Theodoric’s reign (AD 493-526) and of the Byzantine Empire (AD 553-751).
The richest heritage of mosaics in the world, preserved in the basilicas and baptisteries of the city, is a clear evidence of that extraordinary period. For their universal value and the uniqueness of their mosaics, eight monuments of Ravenna have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, namely Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Neonian Baptistery, Arian Baptistery, Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Chapel of Sant’Andrea or Archiepiscopal Chapel, Mausoleum of Theoderic, Basilica of San Vitale and Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe. Besides the UNESCO monuments, further interesting artistic and archaeological sites such as the Domus of the Stone Carpets and the Classe Archaelogical Site make a valuable contribution to the reconstruction of the history of Ravenna.
During the declining period of the Latin civilization, Ravenna undoubtedly represented the most important political and cultural centre of the Western world. Traces of more recent times from the Middle Ages to the contemporary age can be equally found in the city. Some of the most celebrated monuments of these periods are the Tomb of Poet Dante Alighieri, the Brancaleone Fortress (Rocca Brancaleone), the Classense Library (Biblioteca Classense), the Municipal Tower (Torre Civica), as well as the monumental gates of the city.
The cultural offer of Ravenna is abundant and varied. Its wide network of museums and collections includes the MAR – Ravenna Art Museum, regularly organizing high-profile exhibitions and hosting a number of permanent collections; the National Museum, exhibiting a variety of collections and findings from excavations of Roman and Byzantine remains; the Archiepiscopal Museum hosting the Chapel of Sant’Andrea (belonging to the UNESCO Heritage); the TAMO Museum. All the adventure of the mosaic, a permanent, interactive and multimedia exhibition dedicated to the art of mosaic in all its aspects, from the Antiquity up to the present; Dante Museum housing relics related to the cult and fame of the poet and finally the Risorgimento Museum that bears witness to the followers of Mazzini and Garibaldi in Ravenna.
The great variety of landscapes surrounding Ravenna ranges from farmlands with fruit groves, marshes and canals flanked by typical fishing nets to centuries-old pinewoods overlooking sandy, well-equipped beaches. Nine unique seaside resorts stretch along its 30-km long coastline. Its beaches offer a wide range of facilities and leisure activities, such as games, sports and fitness, walks and rides, amusement parks (e.g. Mirabilandia), as well as sunshine, relax and delicacies.
Finally, nature lovers and hikers will enjoy walking through the oasis of Punte Alberete and its quiet flooded forests sheltering rare bird species, as well as visiting the NatuRa Museum of Sant’Alberto, that borders on the Comacchio Valleys, and the ancient Pinewood of San Vitale and Classe, which is part of the nature reserve of the Po Delta Park.