Ravenna a marvel of the ancient world

A cultural trip to Ravenna should definitely include a visit to the early Christian monuments and mosaics realized among the 5th and the 8th century.

Eight buildings – the Neonian Baptistery, the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, the Arian Baptistery, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Church of San Vitale, the Archiepiscopal Chapel and the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia – are now inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List for a unique treasure of mosaic art enriches their interiors and show how religion could influence artistic world.

Mausoleum di Galla Placida
Mausoleum of Galla Placida – Source

 The Mosaics Of Ravenna

It has been made such an abundant use of this artistic technique, that Ravenna is commonly known as the “city of mosaic”.

The mosaic art in Ravenna have a clear influence from the Byzantine culture and the Christianity. Then great works can be seen at the Basilica di San Vitale, such as an outstanding portrait of Emperor Justinian and a portrait of Jesus Christ in the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo.

Moreover, every year you can take part to the night festival Mosaico di Notte – which entertains visitors with guided tours of buildings concealing mosaics and performances of poets and musicians – and to the International Mosaic Festival, which promotes contemporary mosaic works.

 The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

One of the most important examples of Paleochristian architecture in Ravenna is the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, which honours the memory of the Empress who lived at the time when the city was the Western Roman Empire capital. The monument is situated on the backyard of the Basilica di San Vitale, an important Paleochristian and Byzantine church famous for its great mosaics.

Once you reach Via San Vitale, turn on Via degli Ariani and you will find a simple building made of bricks. At first glance you wouldn’t realize why it is a must-see attraction in Ravenna, but after you enter the small door, you will be surprised by the stunning view of the majestic mosaics decorating the inside walls.

Your attention will be soon caught by the wonderful blue sky mosaic full of thousands stars on the vault. Then you will notice the impressive mosaic of the Good Shepherd framed by an arch. On the other walls you can see other symbols of Christianity as a saint – probably Saint Lawrence who was martyred for its faith – the four gospels and the apostles pictured in mosaics. The chapel has three niches which host the sarcophagi of Constantius III, Valentinian III and a Roman noble man.

Built in 430 AD to be an oratory, Galla Placidia was never buried there but the Masousoleum was rightly entitled to Empress who commissioned the construction. During the reign of Galla Placidia, Ravenna become an important place and often represented religion through art. That is evident in the themes of the mosaics that you can see if you do a cultural and artistic tour in Ravenna.

Many important personalities such as Boccaccio, Gustav Klimt and Cole Porter fell in love with this extraordinary city of Emilia Romagna by the Adriatic Sea.

Come and see why during your holidays in Ravenna – European Cultural Capital to be in 2019!



Piadina: the secret bread of Rimini and Ravenna


As is often happens in the gastronomic history, truest popular flavours  colloquially also called “popular or poor food” are those that are guarantee to be good and healthy. The best ones are those that allow you to vary an ancient recipe and to create a traditional or a modern mean meal by just using your fantasty, in a delicious and satisfying alternative way.

The origin of the Piadina bread.

It is known and appreciated by connoisseurs and gourmets alike. The “piadina” comes from a long ancient Italian history. Someone says that everything started around the third century, according to a Roman historian. Beyond the secret knowledge in adding mysterious ingredients by the best “piadinaroli” widespread throughout the southern part of Italian Emilia-Romagna region, the basic piadina is simply composed by an handmade mixture of wheat flour, tepid water, salt, olive oil or lard. It is then laid in a thin disk-shaped flat bread with wooden tools like rolling pin and pastry-board, finally cooked on a metal plate called “testo”. Especially for those who are visiting the Adriatic Eastern coast, between an enjoyable and lively beach-life and a vibrant night-life, even in Winter, along the roads of Romagna an excellent Piadina Romagnola can be enjoyed almost anywhere.  In Rimini and Ravenna restaurants offer it instead of bread to accompany the typical meal of Romagna made of tagliatelle, lasagne, cappelletti and passatelli in brodo, salami, grilled or roasted meats and vegetables.

Romagna street food.

There are also the typical Piadina’s kiosk or small specialised shop called “Piada and Cassoni” offering only piada meals both in the classical version or with various fillings that are re-invented from time to time. Whether they are near the sea or inland, these shops offer assorted menu completely dedicated to “piadina and cassoni” or “cascioni”. The “cassone” is a piadina folded and closed in on itself like a panzerotto, to wrap stuffed with stringy cheese, such as mozzarella and tomato, or sausage and potatoes and sautéed vegetables. A must try! Yes, because piada and cassoni should be eaten hot, just pulled down from the testo. They are excellent when  stuffed with PDO Parma ham, soft cheese, sausage, grilled vegetables and even with sweet chocolate spread.

It is certain that if you try the real traditional piadina, you will enjoy a dish that satisfies your palate and your stomach. This experience will stay in your mind forever, renewing your desire to consume it again and again. For these reasons, the Piadina Romagnola has experienced in recent years a growing success even in large distribution as in supermarkets. Currently piadina is distributed in supermarkets pre-cooked, also proposed by local  cafe’ as an snack or as a part of an aperitif. When you are having a home dinner party with friends you could choose piadina as a valid alternative to the most famous pizza, combined with a good beer or  wine, such as Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore. It would be perfect when paired  with cold cuts such as salami, vegetables and cheeses, such as squacquerone (a noble soft cheese from romagna) or even with a  tuna and onion salad. There is no limit to the imagination when it comes to stuff a delicious piadina.

Rimini and Ravenna food and wine to die for.

Rimini and Ravenna are the  two pearls  of the Italian Adriatic Riviera. Here the Piada is listed in the menu of many beach restaurants. That would be perfect for enjoying the sea breeze, and while enjoying life flowing by. Someone will serve you a piadina filled with small grilled fish and a good white wine as Trebbiano or a fresh dry Albana.
What are currently the best selling piadina and cassoni? Piada with parma ham, squacquerone and rocket, sausage and onion, or hazelnut chocolate spread. An other good option is cassone stuffed with tomato and mozzarella, or sausage and potatoes, as well the vegetarian one with vegetable. Buon Appetito!