Fri, October 19th, 2012 - By

Spotlight on Ravenna, Italy

Ravenna is the capital of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. The picturesque Candiano Canal connects landlocked Ravena to the Adriatic Sea (12 km away), with the tiny towns of Porto Corsini and Marina di Ravenna acting as the offshore breakwaters. Currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ravenna was past capital of the Western Roman Empire, the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths, the centre of the Byzantine Exarchate and the seat of the Lombard Kingdom.

Ravenna can be reached by plane from either Forli or Bologna (20 and 80 km away, respectively), train (lines to Bologna and Rimini). By coach and car, Ravenna is reached via the A14. Although buses run through the city centre (tickets available at Tabacchi), its compact size mean it is best explored by either cycling or walking.

Ravenna has inspired many well-known cultural figures in the past. Dante (author of the Divine Comedy and the “father of the Italian language”), requested to be buried in Ravenna and his remains are contained in a 1780-built tomb. The Dante Centre of the Convent Brothers and the Dante Museum containing some important works, are worth visiting. Lord Byron lived in Ravenna and wrote his “Ravenna Diary, My Dictionary and Recollections” until 1821, when he went on to Greece to help with the liberation from the Ottoman Turks. In other literature, Ravenna has been featured in works as diverse as Oscar Wilde’s  poem, Thomas Middleton’s “The Witch”, Hermann Hesse’s poems (Ravena 1 and 2) and T.S. Eliot’s poem “Lune de Miel”.

Ravena’s main attractions to visitors are religious architecture and their museum-like quality of relics and displays. The Basilica of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo with their beautifully preserved mosaics are top of the list. The Baroque church of Santa Maria Maggiore contains a painting by Luca Longhi.The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Empress of Rome and the Mausoleum of Theodoric are quite imposing.

The annual Ravenna Festival, one of Italy’s premier classical music extravaganzas, features concerts at the Basilicas of Sant’Apollinare and San Vitale and Opera at the Teatro Alighieri.

Image credits: Agnee, eutrophication&hypoxia, Maarten, Roger Wollstadt, John W. Schulze

Karen Bryan

As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save

Posted : Friday, October 19th, 2012 at 10:00
Category : Spotlight
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