Are you planning your next trip and you can’t choose where to go in Italy? What about Ravenna?
Discover the city of the famous Mosaics.
Ravenna is the meeting point between eastern & western cultures.
Ravenna is in my heart not only because it’s my hometown, but also because it has many historical sites, mosaics and our food is genuine and tasteful.
I will explain you in this travel guide how to visit Ravenna with my hassle-free tips.
How to get to Ravenna…
Bologna Airport is the closest one. It’s about 1-hour drive from Ravenna. Also, it’s very easy to reach the city by train. Bologna is currently implementing a monorail from/to the airport and the main station, Bologna Centrale. Have a look if it’s working. If yes, in 7 minutes you will be at the main train station. If not, jump on the transfer ( €6) from the airport to the train station and from there catch a train. ( Fare starts from €7.35).
Hassle-free tip: Buy your transfer ticket online.
I will help you to visit Ravenna as a local in this travel guide.
PLAN AHEAD how many museums and landmarks YOU WOULD LIKE TO VISIT…
You can visit Ravenna as a day trip from cities nearby. Otherwise, I will suggest you 3 full days. That will be enough to visit the city. However, if you wish to see also the famous “Riviera Romagnola” and enjoy the beach then maybe a week.
History: Discover the extraordinary mosaics of ravenna
Ravenna is a meeting point between eastern & western cultures. Known worldwide for the mosaics. Ravenna, also, has been Capital for three times:
1’ Western Roman Empire, 2’ Ostrogothic Kingdom, 3’ Byzantine Empire.
In Ravenna, you can find many monuments and churches, which 8 of them, since 1996 are UNESCO’s sites. You can buy a combo ticket for just € 10.50 per adults.
Hassle-free tip: Plan ahead, check which tickets office is the closest to you (there are 3 of them), the opening hours & useful advice.
Visit Ravenna with me…
MY FAVORITE MONUMENTS:
- Mausoleum of Galla Placidia: from outside looks like a very simple and poor chapel, but inside you find one of the most beautiful Mosaics, Garden of Even.
- Dante’s Tomb: Dante originally from Florence, being forced to exile, is the father of the Italian language.
As you can imagine, Ravenna has several museums. I will tell you more about the most unusual ones…
- The house of marionettes: Owned by Monticelli Family for five generations. Here you can also attend a traditional Emilia Romagna’s puppet shows.
- Little Museum of dolls and other toys: Originally was a private collection of Graziella Gardini Pasini. Some of her dolls and toys are dated back to 1860.
Festivals & exhibitions:
Ravenna has many different Festivals and exhibitions. The most famous are:
- Ravenna Festival: Founded in 1990 by Riccardo Muti’s wife (He’s one of the most successful Orchestra directors of the world.) It mainly takes place in June & July with an outstanding programme of music, theatre and dance performances. However, there are many events all year round.
- “Mosaico di Notte”: Mosaics by night, during summertime some of the monuments will have an additional evening opening, twice a week.
- Ravenna Nightmare Film Festival: International festival of horror movies.
VISIT RAVENNA AS A LOCAL & discover My favourite places…
Ravenna has a very elegant city centre.
The pedestrian path is made of Cobblestone. Most of the recent buildings have pastel (peachy and sand beach hue) facades. If not, you can still admire the old reddish bricks.
The old town is tiny and you can easily walk or rent a bike.
I love to start visiting the old town, always, from, Porta Adriana, down to Corso Cavour (one of the main street), Piazza del Popolo and from here, I really follow the flow. There are couple of streets that I particularly like:
- Via della Tesoriera Vecchia, there is a beautiful mural dedicated to Italy.
- In Via Giuseppe Pasolini you cand admire Dante’s mural and drink the best chocolate(see below),
- Via Mentana, decorated with hanging umbrellas;
Last but not least, you will find a lot of Space Invaders in Ravenna.
Markets & shops:
There is a mosaics shop that caught my attention, Barbara Liverani Studio because there is a massive duck shape cover by yellow mosaics in the window. The artist creates also jewellery. I found, an amazing pair of earrings made of baroque pearls and old Corals (as Coral is protected, she assured me that the Corals was from an old necklace of her mum that she decided to break it and create something else from it).
Founded in 1888 “La Butega ad Giorgioni”, in Romagnolo dialect means the shop of Giorgioni, is probably the oldest shop in Ravenna. Here you can find spice and herbs and many other natural remedies.
If you visit Ravenna on Wednesday or Saturday, you can visit in the morning the pedlars’ markets, in Piazza Zaccagnini (close by the Stadium). Also, every third weekend of the month there is an Antiques and craft market.
This is going to be my personal selections of places as local. I do not get any fee if you go there or not. Most of the places listed below are open from breakfast to dinner. Therefore keep it in mind.
I will say, every “BAR”, coffee shops have great coffee and good selections of pastries. If it’s my turn to decide where to go, my choices will be:
- Fricandò (Just outside of Porta Adriana). Freshly made pastries and excellent coffee served in an old-style coffee shop. They also serve lunch and dinner.
- Pasticceria Ferrari, food is great, the service and the room bring you back to decades ago. Via Mario Gordini, 11
Whenever I plan to go back to visit my family, I make sure to book asap my favourite place.
La Rustica is a small family-run restaurant in the middle of the city centre. The owners are very friendly, the ambient is cosy and very welcoming.
Here, you will find a great selection of typical dishes from Romagna. Fresh, tasteful and authentic.
We never been disappointed.
If you are planning to go, please, do not wait, book it asap. They have a very limited seats, I don’t want you to miss the best meal in Ravenna.
I’m a big fan of Italian hot chocolate, which is almost impossible to find it in London. If you fancy one, all you have to do is going back where Dante’s mural is and look for Caffetteria Guidarello.
If it’s ice cream time… Definitely go to Papilla. You will find flavors never seen before.
- Cabiria: is one of the most crowded bar, full of locals. Good cocktails and a nice selection of wine.
- I Fanti: I love the location and the exposed bricks. A bit quieter even if in the city centre with good drinks. Via Manfredo Fanti, 9A
- Cà de ven, which means wine’s house in dialect. Very popular and well known by locals and tourists.
Lively vibes embrace all the wine and cocktails bars in the city centre especially during the weekend.
There is a new location for the nightlife in Ravenna, La Darsena pop up, which is the district behind the train station, close by Theodoric’s Mausoleum. You can find several cocktails bar here and not only.
What to eat?
La Rustica has a very satisfying menu, there you can find everything.
Do not forget to try our amazing Piadina.
Hassle-free tip: if you are Vegetarian, be aware our regular Piadina is made with lard. In your case, they will use olive oil instead. If you are gluten intolerant ask if they have any Piadina made with other types of flour.
Where to stay:
As you probably know, Ravenna is my hometown. Anyhow, I will definitely suggest you to stay the closest as possible to the old town.
Day trips from Ravenna:
From Ravenna, you can easily reach different locations. It depends on what you are looking for. If you would like to go to the beach, go to Marina di Ravenna or Milano Marittima. Mirabilandia is one of the most famous theme parks in Italy. Many Medieval towns are nearby like Brisighella or San Leo. If you would like to discover a little Venice then go to Comacchio… To be honest, there is so much to see in Emilia Romagna, I suggest you to drive and follow the flow. If you don’t have a car, there are nice places to visit by train too. Just to name a few… Cesenatico, Ferrara or Rimini…
I hope you will find this guide helpful and don’t forget to write me if you have any questions :)