Posted by: lizlitzow | April 18, 2010


Before we left Bagni di Lucca Annalisa from Bar Italia told us Ravenna is “una bella citta.”  She is right, Ravenna is a beautiful city.

It is about a 3 – 4 hour drive from Bagni di Lucca through gorgeous countryside.  We drove through the mountains behind our village to the ring road around Bologna and through fruit orchards in blossom in Emilia Romagna.

Centuries ago Ravenna was situated on a group of sandhills washed by the sea and surrounded by marshes.  This changed with the accumulation of alluvial deposits brought down by branches of the river Po.  Now the city is nearly 4.5 kilometres from the sea.

Ravenna was the capital of the Western Roman Empire for a time and was ruled by the Byzantines until the Lombards conquered the city and it was later controlled by the Venetians.  It was at times one of the most splendid Mediterranean cities.  Fortunately for us a lot remains intact, making it a fascinating place to visit.

Piazza Popolo at night

Piazza del Popolo

The city is an excellent mix of old and new.  The lovely old streets are filled with modern shops and restaurants and the city centre is vibrant.  Piazza del Popolo is at  the heart of the city and most of the interesting sights are within easy walking distance.

Ravenna is famous for mosiacs and the mosiac theme is everywhere in town.

mosiac street names

on the streeets

in the park

mosiacs on swimsuits

mosiacs in doorways

We had lunch at a tiny bar called Central Bar in Via Rasponi near Piazza JF Kennedy and beside Casa del Mutilato di Guerra.  There is a little herb garden nearby that is worth a visit.

Giardino Rasponi

delicious sandwiches at Central Bar

Ca’ de Ven was recommended for dinner by the hotel where we stayed.  It is tucked away under brick vaults on the ground floor of a 16th century building next to Dante’s tomb.  Dante is said to have lived here when it was a lodging house.  It was at one time a 19th century spice shop and the ornate shelves now display hundreds of varieties of Emilia Romagna wine.  Piadine, the delicious local flat bread is a specialty here.

Ca' de Ven in Via Corrado Ricci

inside Ca' de Ven

a pretty resident at Ca'de Ven

piadine and Sangiovese from the area

The main sights in Ravenna include Basilica di San Vitale, Mausolea di Galla Placidia, Cathedral, Museo Arcivescovile and Battistero Neoniano, Tombe di Dante, Basilica di Sant’Appolinare Nouvo and Basilica di Sant’Appolinare in Classe.  You can purchase a ticket which includes most of these sights for 10.50 euro.   Check before you go as this can change.  These buildings are some of the most spectacular I have seen and will be covered in individual posts soon.

We stayed at Hotel Ravenna in Viale Maroncelli 12.  0544 21 2077  We were able to drive easily to it and there was free car parking.  The hotel is close to the railway station and is a short walk to the city centre.


  1. Beautiful trip!
    Thanks again for sharing!


  2. I want to tell Debra; that I mentioned you in my latest post, if you want to check it out:)

    I will let her know. Thanks for all your comments. Its great to see so many people reading our blog. Debra is the photographer and takes all those wonderful photos. Ciao Liz

  3. Hi Liz,

    I like the way you bring in the history of the places you visit and explain in detail the cultures of the food. Makes the viewing of your blog vibrant and interesting. You and Debra make an excellent team!


    • Thank you Sandra, we do really appreciate comments from our readers. If there is any part of Italy, or detail that you would like us to add, please let us know. We have a lot of fun writing our blog and of course Debra does the amazing photographs. Liz

  4. […] Ravenna in April. You can read their account and see their photos here, here, here, here, here and here. This entry was posted in Italian Churches, Italy, Photographs, Uncategorized and tagged […]

  5. […] Ravenna is not far from Venice and has the most amazing mosaics…time to go back, it has been at least 10 years since we were there. […]

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