RAVENNA, CAPITAL OF THE EMPIRES

This town in the Emilia region was of prime importance under the Roman Empire, under Odoacer King of the Erules and King Theodoric of the Ostrogoths, and was also a Byzantine power in Italy.

History

Ravenna’s origins date back to the lagoon settlements of the Etruscans and then the Umbrians, but it gained importance under the Roman period. It was chosen as the capital of the Western Empire in 402 as a trading point and passage between the Byzantine and Roman cultures. When the Empire fell, it became the capital of Odoacer’s kingdom and then that of Theodoric, becoming the Byzantine power in Italy. In Medieval times, when there were no longer relations with the Orient, the town passed a period of serious decline and isolation,  that only finished in 1400 with Venetian domain. From the 16th century, Ravenna was included in the Papal State, which governed there for three and a half centuries, leading it back into decline. The last period of development was after the second world war, when methane deposits were discovered which allowed social and economic development for the town.

The city  and its monuments

The historic centre of Ravenna has several traces of its ancient past, with excellently conserved Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments. Alongside the typical cylindrical bell towers of the 9th and 10th centuries, we have the lovely renaissance buildings, thanks to the town redevelopment by the Venetians in 1400. The most important monument in the town is San Vitale, which includes the Benedictine monastery, the Basilica of San Vitale one of the most precious witnesses of Paleochristian art, the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia and the National Museum. The Cathedral is just a few minutes away from San Vitale, built in Paleochristian style in the 5th century by Bishop Orso, who also had the nearby Neone Baptistery built. Nor should we forget the Church of St. Francis, which Bishop Neone had built in 460 and until 1865 held the remains of Dante, which are now conserved in the nearby Neoclassic sepulchre that has been dedicated to him at the side of the church. In the eastern part of the town is the Church of St. Apollinare Nuovo and the famous Mausoleum of Theodoric King of the Ostrogoths, with its solid polygonal structure.

The geographical area

The province is marked by important, well known tourist resorts, like Marina di Ravenna and trendy Milano Marittima. However, tourism is not only tied to art and the sea, but also nature with the Natural Oasis at Punta Alberete and the quiet Valleys of the Po Delta. Marina di Ravenna is situated between a lovely pinewood and the beaches of the Romagna coastline; by day you can go for walks, practice all sorts of sports, volleyball and sailing, golf and beach tennis, and then in the evening the most famous discotheques, lively pubs, cultural events or romantic beach parties are awaiting you. Milano Marittima, an elegant and famous resort, has a really exclusive fascination and atmosphere to satisfy the most exacting of its guests. In the centre are refined shops and restaurants, discotheques, nightclubs and trendy bars. Surrounded by a luxuriant, centuries old pinewood, it combines the lively centre with the calm and peace of nature, making it the ideal choice for a really complete holiday. The Cervia Spa baths are also situated in the wood, an advanced centre where it is a delight to look after your body.