Discover Ravenna, known all over the world as the capital of mosaic!
This charming town on the Adriatic coast preserves an exceptional artistic heritage, thanks to its past that has seen it as the protagonist of crucial and important historical events. Between the V and the VIII century, Ravenna was the capital of the Western Roman Empire, of the Ostrogoth's Kingdom and of the Byzantine Empire: the traces of this past are in the wonderful ancient buildings and in its eight UNESCO Monuments.
Ravenna is also the city of Dante Alighieri, the major Italian poet and the father of the Italian language: he chose this place as his "last refuge" and the city still guard his immortal remains.
Our journey into history starts from the Roman Age (V century), with the wonderful Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. The Roman empress, a very religious woman, built this place to contain the remains of her and her family, and the beautiful mosaic in here represent stories of the Bible and Saints, but also fine decorations that remind the eastern art and the nature; on top the famous starry sky enchant for its light and its golden shines.
We explore the period of Theodoric, the Ostrogoth's King (V-VI centuries), with the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, a Palatine church decorated with mosaics that show stories of Jesus and the important places of ancient Ravenna as the port of Classis and the Palace of Theodoric. Together with the mosaic of Theodoric's time, we have here also the bright procession of martyrs and virgins, a Byzantine addition that proves the troubled past of this church.
We admire the magnificence of the Byzantine time (VI century), with the grandiose Basilica of San Vitale, with its particular octagonal shape and famous for the variety of its marble and the fine mosaics representing the emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora.
We pay homage to the major Italian poet visiting Dante's area, with the evocative flooded crypt of the Basilica of Saint Francis and the neoclassical Tomb of Dante Alighieri: we discover the adventurous story of its remains, stolen from the Franciscan Friars to keep them in Ravenna, and the love of Ravenna people for the poet throughout the centuries.
We enjoy a cup of coffee or an ice cream in Piazza del Popolo, the beautiful Town Hall square with its elegant Venetian characteristics, and we make a short visit to one of the many mosaic workshops.
The 6 hour tour has additional sights from the 3 hour tour.
After lunch, we then visit the Arian Baptistery, built by the great king for the Arian community, and we leave for a moment the mosaics to admire the white stone of Istria in the Mausoleum of Theodoric, a massive monument surrounded by the green of a pleasant public park (only exterior visit of the mausoleum).
We move to the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe, the only surviving church of the ancient port city: in the apse richly decorated with an idyllic garden, stands out a bright golden cross and the figure of the Saint to whom the church is dedicated.
- Admission ticket to the UNESCO monuments of the city center is €8.50 per person.
- From March 1st till June 15th, the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is NOT included in the €8.50 ticket. Additional entrance fee of €2.
- Entrance ticket to S. Apollinare in Classe: €5 per person (free for under 18 and over 65).
- Extra for coffee break or lunch/dinner.
- Cost of transport. (Bus return ticket to reach the church of Sant'Apollinare in Classe is about €3 per person).