Posted by: Debra Kolkka | October 3, 2020

Ravenna part 2

We were very keen to see Dante’s tomb in Ravenna. Dante eventually moved to Ravenna after his exile from Florence. He probably arrived in Ravenna in 1318 and he took refuge in the court of lord Guido Novella da Polenta. It was in this city that he found the peaceful atmosphere he desired to complete his Divine Comedy. 

He died in Ravenna in 1321. His remains are contained in a sarcophagus in a small chapel beside the Basilica of San Francesco, where his funeral was held.

At one point when Florence demanded his bones back the monks from the nearby monastery kept them hidden for centuries. They were rediscovered in 1865 and placed in the sarcophagus where they remain today.
The city of Florence gives the oil to keep alight the lamp hanging from the vaulted ceiling in the chapel.

In a small garden beside the chapel there is a mound where Dante’s remains were buried for safekeeping during WWII. 

The exterior of the Basilica of San Francesco beside Dante’s tomb is quite plain. It was built between the 9th and 10th centuries on the site of a 5th century religious building.

The crypt is all that remains of the original building. 

It has been flooded by the surrounding marshes and is now a shallow pool with lovely old mosaics on the floor and is home to goldfish and occasional ducks.

Our next stop was the Archiepiscopal Museum in the palace of the same name. There are interesting artworks from the ancient city buildings. Several fragments displayed on the walls could find a happy home in my garden at Casa Debbio dotted among the plants and on the garden walls.


Best of all was the lovely St Andrew’s chapel, an early Christian oratory built between 494 and 519AD, decorated with gorgeous mosaics. I loved the patterns and the colours. These beautiful things always make me want to go home and paint something.

I especially loved the bird motif on the ceiling.

The Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo was built at the beginning of the 6th century. It was given its name in the 9th century to distinguish it from the one of Classe, when the remains of the Patron Saint of the city were moved from the former site to this new church.

The mosaic decorations feature a representation of the Ancient port of Classe and the procession of saints.




The church was our last visit of the day before returning to the hotel to change for dinner…and another stroll through Piazza Popolo.

We went to a beautifully decorated restaurant which I later recalled was the same one I went to 10 years ago. Ca de Ven is in the 15th century Palazzo Rasponi, the residence of the Rasponi family until the 18th century when it became an inn and later a grocery shop. In 1975 it turned into Ca de Ven, a wine house for Romagna wines. It is now a wine bar and restaurant.

The decor was possibly more impressive than the food. It is a stunning setting and a busy, popular place to meet in Ravenna.

The next morning we called into the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, a few kilometres outside of the city centre. It was built over the burial place of the first Archbishop of the city of Apollinare. It was consecrated in 549AD and is considered the highest example of an early christian basilica.

In the polychrome mosaic of the apsis, the Saint is depicted at the centre of an idyllic wood animated by a flock of sheep, birds and trees. Above is a glowing sky where a jewelled star has Christ’s face as its centre.

In a corner of the church is a small sarcophagus. The sad inscription tells us that the remains are of a little girl, just 18 months old and how much her parents miss her.


We all enjoyed our short trip to Ravenna and have vowed to return. I won’t wait 10 years until the next time.

We stayed at Palazzo Galletti Abbiosi Hotel.  It was very comfortable, the breakfast was excellent and the hotel is well located, within easy walking distance of all the things we wanted to see in the city. It has off street parking.My friends and I always prefer to book directly with hotels. 

Palazzo Galletti Abbiosi…

Ristorante Ca’ de Ven

Via Corrado Ricci, 24


  1. Lovely Ravenna, thank you for sharing Debra.

    • It is a lovely city. The mosaics took us there, but there is much more to see.

  2. Those wonderful mosaics are irreplaceable. I do hope that they will remain intact for many centuries to come.

    • Me too. We are very lucky to be able to see them.

  3. Exquisite pictures Debra, & interesting history. Hope the food was as good as it looked. Very enjoyable piece. Thank you xx

    • Ravenna was a great place to visit. The food was OK, but the setting was excellent.

  4. Absolutely loved this post but if only this virus was not still affecting us we would love to get on a plane & visit Ravenna. Your post & photos just superb.
    How beautiful are the mosiacs. Just marvellous!!

    • The mosaics are stunning. I feel very lucky to be able to visit.

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  6. The mosiac detail is incredible. Thanks for showing us these beautiful buildings.

    • Ravenna is great. I loved my revisit.

  7. Would love to see Ravenna someday, thank you for the virtual trip today! Hope you are safe and well.

    • I’m fine here in Italy, thank you. My rescheduled flight home has just been cancelled, so I am here for a while. It could be worse.

  8. Beautiful – thanks for all of the fine details!

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