Italy, being one of the most famous tourist countries to visit, has several popular cities. Ravenna Italy might not be the tourist hotspot, but the rich history behind it makes it a must-go city for history and art lovers. The city of Ravenna is located in the Italian province of Emilia Romagna; a region of various seaside towns, historic towns, and incredible Italian gastronomy.
Ravenna has a plethora of historical buildings, and its Byzantine era architecture and mosaics are some of the best-preserved in the country, making it a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts.
Visit The Historic Ravenna’s Basilicas
As a city filled with historical and religious sites, Ravenna hosts some famous basilicas. Ravenna also has many exquisite early Christian mosaics that have survived the ruins of history. Across the town, these mosaics can be seen.
While religious architecture might not be everyone’s cup of tea, the magnificent sites such as the Basilica of San Vitale and Baptistery of Neon should help persuade you otherwise. These hauntingly beautiful basilicas are a marvelous example of early Christian Byzantine art and architecture in Europe. Basilica of San Vitale also has some stunning mosaics. During the Ravenna Music Festival, this basilica is also used as an atmospheric concert space.
Baptistery of Neon is an essential religious site located next to the Cappella San Andrea. The baptistery has an octagonal design and a reasonably simple exterior. The inside, however, is an entirely different story. Inside the structure, there is a stunning series of colored mosaics that depict religious scenes. Therefore, some of them are the procession of the twelve apostles and John baptizing Jesus.
Additionally, Ravenna’s UNESCO-listed monuments can be visited using a combination ticket, currently priced at €9.50 per adult.
Enjoy The Ravenna Seaside
The coast of Ravenna boasts of beautiful beaches and some fantastic seaside resorts. The sight of an Italian seaside is to behold, as they all say. Most of the beaches come alive at night. Also, if you have some extra cash, you could visit the clubs and restaurants in these seaside resorts on the beach. A few famous resorts to visit are Marina di Ravenna, Lido di Classe, and Lido di Dante.
Piazza del Popolo
Piazza, the Italian word for square, are also abundant in Italy. One of the busiest and famous ones in Ravenna is Piazza del Popolo. The square lies in the center of the town and is within walking distance from the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare and Basilica di San Francesco.
On this piazza, you can see several significant structures. This also includes the Ravenna territorial government building and Comune di Ravenna. Aside from the fantastic architecture, there are a series of restaurants with outdoor seating.
Visit A Mini Country (San Marino)
When you are visiting Ravenna, you have the unique opportunity to travel to San Marino. It lies at an hour’s drive to the south of Ravenna. This mini-state is a land-locked nation that has a population of roughly 33,000. Although only a small nation, San Marino is one of the wealthiest countries per capita in the world.
At the center of San Marino stands the soaring Mount Titano and the fortress of Guaita. These two are some of the key tourist attractions of this country. Other prominent sites include the San Marino Cathedral, the aerial tramway to the peak of the mountain, and the Palazzo Pubblico.
Mirabilandia Theme Park
Most young backpackers are known for being adventure junkies. And for their routine fix of adrenaline, Ravenna has a theme park. Located southeast of Ravenna next to Lago Standiana, this fantastic theme park is fully packed with fun rides and attractions.
The iSpeed rollercoaster in the park launches a person at 70mpg through a series of turns. Additionally, the Euro Wheel is the second tallest one in Europe at 90m in height. A series of thrilling rides and stunt shows will keep you entertained for hours.
Savor The Local Cuisine Of Ravenna
A number of delicious dishes are available to try, and you could quickly become overwhelmed with foodie options. The first thing you must try is Piadina. It’s a tasty flatbread that is a local staple. Piadina is generally stuffed with local salami and cheese. That makes it a great lunchtime snack on the go. Eels that normally come in tin packs are also available in restaurants. They are a local delicacy and a must-try.
How can one be in Italy and not try pasta? Many local Ravenna restaurants serve crowd-pleasing pasta dishes to suit all tastes. Look out for lasagne, gramigna, tortellini, and tagliatelle.
Visit The National Museum Of Ravenna
“Museo Nazionale Ravenna” is housed within the walkways of the old Benedictine Monastery that joins onto San Vitale. The Museum of Ravenna has a wonderful collection of art and relics from different time periods.
Collected from the 18th century onwards, the immense collection includes textiles, carved ivories decorated tombs, oriental marble capitals, and a fascinating selection of ancient weaponry. Furthermore, the museum hosts various artifacts from the 8 different UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ravenna, such as the Basilica di San Francesco.
Mausoleum Of Galla Placidia
The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is lying on the same grounds as the Basilica di San Vitale and it’s also one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It features some dazzling interior artwork that is considered as one of the best-preserved and artistically-perfect standing today.
The daughter of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I was the inspiration of Galla Placidia. The mausoleum is a modest structure that features various iconic designs and motifs such as the ceiling that represents the garden of Eden. Despite being created thousands of years ago, it stands today in perfect condition and is one of Ravenna’s treasures.
The Historic Palace Sant’Apollinare Nuovo
King Theodoric the Great created the palace during the 6th century. The ancient palace was dedicated to Christ the Redeemer in 504 AD. It is located in the eastern part of the old historic town and is easily accessible on foot. It is an attraction to see during a walking tour of Ravenna.
A bell tower stands to the right of the building. Stone arches here are also similar to the other major religious and historical buildings in the city grace the entrance. It truly reminds a person of the Byzantine empire. Additionally, the interior of this building features some amazing mosaics. On walls, there is also a series of colored mosaics that depict Jesus’ miracles as told from the Bible.
The Ravenna Music Festival
For all the backpackers out there who are into music, then plan your trip accordingly, keeping the music festival in mind. The Ravenna Music Festival showcases jazz, classical, and world music. Some are quite experimental, in picturesque venues including the refectory of the National Museum. The festival goes on for two months— from May through July each year.
Cheap Accommodation & Getting Around In Ravenna
As a backpacker, you won’t have the cash to spend on expensive hotels, so hostels are your best option. Hostels are linked to cheap accommodation for travelers, so if you search early, you are sure to find one suited to your needs. Couchsurfing is another option if you don’t find a hostel. Sometimes, it’s the cheapest option as well.
The public bus line in Ravenna will take you around the city. The Azienda Trasporti e Mobilita buses run on several loops around the old capital city and can get you to most major attractions. Check their official website for more details. Cabs are also another option, but it’s expensive, so try to skip them. Ravenna is a small city in size that one should easily find a way to get to the essential destinations quickly.