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Golden Day 116: The Historical Center of Ravenna with the DiRavenna Project

July 12, 2014

10313341_1495213700708447_1663139561085139147_nIt was a delight to discover the DiRavenna project, created by a group of passionate bloggers, photographers, and videographers who tell stories about the amazing Emilia Romgna town that they live in. Ravenna is a stunning spot, that was capital of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, and then a center of the Byzantine Empire in Italy from the 6th to the 8th centuries. What remains from that glorious time are beautiful mosaics, in 8 buildings that have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Ravenna historic center is largely pedestrian only, and a wonder to explore.

Monuments paléochrétiens de Ravenne

The DiRavenna project shows off the many treasures of Ravenna, beyond the major sites, with fascinating stories, such as a recent one called Storia di Un Menu di Pesce, telling in photos and videos how a fish dinner comes from the sea to the table.

I’m grateful to two DiRavenna project creators, Davide Bertozzi and Pierpaolo Zoffoli have joined in to give us advice for a Golden Day in Ravenna’s Historic Center: 

A great start to the day in Ravenna is a stop by the Caffe Letterario (Via Armando Diaz 26), a charming, friendly place, with delicious pastries, that’s a favorite for the locals in the center…

Or the Pasticceria Ferrari (Via M. Gordoni 11/13), for extraordinary sweets…


You’ll find the most impressive display of mosaics in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (Via Giuliano Argentario 22), which looks plain on the outside, 



and will dazzle you when you walk inside!



 Right next to it is the amazing Basilica di San Vitale


And you can also enjoy the Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra–House of the Stone Carpets (Via Barbiani). It was a palace, discovered under the Church of Sant Euphemia, and opened to the public after renovation in 2002, where you’ll discover Roman mosaics.


For a traditional lunch, go to Ristorante La Gardela (Via Ponte Marino 3, 05442171470, closed Thursdays, reservations recommended for outside tables). Here you can order Ravenna’s signature pasta: Cappelletti or Passatelli in brodo – during winter….


Or for excellent fish, including crudo, go to L’Acciuga Osteria (Viale Francesco Baracca,0544212713).




Keep wandering around the Centro Storico, perhaps stopping at the Provincia Palace, from the early 20th century, that mixes Neoclassical style with touches of Byzantine, in its Rasponi Crypt, where you’ll find MORE beautiful mosaics!


And while you’re there enjoy the Giardini Pensili–Gardens on the Roof..



Take a gelato break, right near the lively Piazza del Popolo, at Sorbetteria degli Esarchi (Via IV Novembre 11).


Or for the chic, all-natural-ingredients-gelato-experience, have something wonderful, (Pierpaolo recommends the Bianco con Zenzero), at Milk:


Don’t miss the Tomba di Dante (Via Dante Alighieri 9, free admission), where Italy’s beloved Renaissance poet is buried.


When aperitivo time comes, slip into the cozy Alex & Paul wine bar (Via Alcide de Gasperi 11, 054434713)…


Or the Tazza d’Oro that’s great for people watching–right in the Piazza del Popolo.


Or check out the scene at the hip, intimate, Fargo (Vicolo Padenna,3332097141), named after the Coen brother’s movie, that has nice outside tables…


Here are some great options for dinner:

Osteria del Tempo Perso, (Via Gamba 12, 0544215393, reservations essential), a small, romantic place, that serves excellent fish and has a great wine list…


Or the traditional Ca’ de Ven (Via Corrado Ricci 24, 054430163, reservations recommended) where you can also enjoy local wines at the bar…


Then at night enjoy a stroll in the Rocca Brancaleone (Via Rocca Brancaleone).


Stay over at Albergo Cappello (Via IV Novembre 41,0544219813) , a gorgeous former 16th century palace…


Grazie mille Davide and Pierpaolo for this beautiful advice! And I look forward to exploring Ravenna beyond the centro storico with your recommendations in our next post…

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2014 1:10 pm

    I went to Ravenna on a day trip and it was so atmospheric. I can’t wait to go back, especially since having learnt about the city’s importance in Late Antiquity at uni.

    • July 14, 2014 3:03 pm

      It truly is remarkable! We look forward to hearing about your next journey to Ravenna 🙂

  2. Lee permalink
    July 12, 2014 7:52 pm

    Mi piacciano tanto queste visità virtuali!

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