History And Art Tour Of Ravenna (Half Day Itinerary)

Welcome to Ravenna, a quaint town that lies in the Italian province of Emilia Romagna. This city, known as the mosaic capital of the world, has more than enough to offer to a curious traveller. If you are an art or a history lover, this is the place to be. This town with its rich heritage was the capital of Western Roman Empire for three centuries. It is home to the famous Italian Poet Dante, who spent the last years of his life here. You can see the churches and baptisteries adorned with beautiful mosaics, which is the work of skilled craftsmen that gave their best to beautify this town. Eight of the world’s UNESCO heritage sites are housed here. The historic Christian monuments, its proximity to Adriatic Riviera, the food and the art make it a place worth visiting once and again.
The city is very popular with tourists who are looking for a day excursion from other towns of the country such as Venice, Bologna and Rome.

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

Mausoleum di Galla Placida

On this tour, we will visit four of the significant Christian monuments in the city of Ravenna. It will take us back in time to as early as the 5th century. We will begin the tour of this ancient and artistic city with a visit to the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. With it, enter the Roman Empire in the 5th century. We will also visit Basilica  of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Basilica of San Vitale and visit Basilica of Saint Francis and Tomb of Dante Alighieri. We will end our tour with a visit to Piazza del Popolo, the city’s town hall.

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia: Galla Placidia was a talented and a
religious woman who was the daughter of Emperor Theodocius I the Great. Her father was the ruler of both the western and eastern empires. Galla Placidia lived from AD 392 to AD 450 and ruled the city of Ravenna.

The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia was erected by Galla during her reign in Ravenna along with her other grand building projects in Rome, Jerusalem and Ravenna. It was constructed to bury the empress and other noble family members’ remains. The structure is known for the most impressive mosaics in the entire city. The UNESCO documents list these mosaics as artistically perfect as compared to the others in the town. The mausoleum is situated behind the Basilica de San Vitale and is approximately 100 years older than the Basilica. From outside, the building looks small and simple. However, the interiors are entirely covered in mosaic artwork, which can be dated back to the 5th century. The entry to the building is through the corridors that lead to National Museum. One batch of visitors is allowed to stay for five minutes. You can quickly go for the next five minutes viewing on a non-rush day.

Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo

Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo: Next we go to see the Basilica of
Sant’Apollinare Nuovo to explore the Theodoric empire in the 5-6th centuries.
It was built as a Palatine church of Arian religion next to the palace of
Theodoric who lived from AD 493 to AD 526. Here you can admire the Byzantine wall mosaics and see how those evolved in style, ideology and iconography. The mosaics depict tales of Jesus and showcase the crucial areas in the historic city of Ravenna. You can see the original mosaic work that illustrates the New Testament in the 26 scenes from the Theodoric empire. You can see the two side pilasters and mullioned windows adorning the façade of the Basilica. The original four-sided porch was renovated with a marble porch in the 16th century. Towards the right of the façade lies a cylindrical structure that dates back to the 9th century.

Basilica of San Vitale

Basilica di San Vitale

Basilica of San Vitale: It is one of the most important examples of
Christian art in the entire country. The church is not architecturally a
basilica. But this honourable title was given to it by the Roman Catholic
Church; it is a title bestowed to buildings of significant historical and
religious significance. It was started by Bishop Ecclesius and completed in AD 548 by Archbishop Maximian. The mosaics in the Basilica represent the
ideological and religious beliefs of the empire of Justinian who reigned from
527 to 565. These are the best preserved Byzantine mosaics outside
Constantinople. Once you enter the octagonal Basilica, you will be mesmerised by the width and elevation of the spaces and the beautiful frescoes of the cupola that were painted by the Bolognese painters. The structure is made of marble with the dome made of terra-cotta, which lies on eight pilasters. You can see the merger of eastern and western art, which represents the oriental art influence. It was marked as a UNESCO world heritage site in the year 1996.

Basilica of Saint Francis and Tomb of Dante Alighieri: We now visit the Italian poet’s area where we pay homage and discover Italians love for him. We also go back in history and learn how his remains were stolen to be kept in Ravenna.
The original church was built in AD 450 by Bishop Neone and almost replaced in 9th  century by a more massive structure. From the ground plan, it looks like a smaller version of Old St. Peters in Rome. This is Dante’s last church and is the place where Dante’s funeral took place in the year 1321. The church was again renovated in the 17th and 18th century.

We conclude the historic tour with a visit to the city’s town hall square Piazza del Popolo. It was built by Venetians and has a resemblance to St. Mark’s Square in Venice. Here you can enjoy some ice cream, have a hot cup of coffee or dine at any of the restaurants. You can roam around the Piazza and also visit the many mosaic workshops that sell mosaic art pieces.

There is no better way to explore the city than this guided tour that shares the secrets and treasures of Ravenna’s with the travellers. The duration of this walking tour is approximately three hours. Please ensure to
wear suitable clothing as you are going to visit places of worship. Also, it
would be advisable to wear comfortable footwear to ease your walking while you peek into the historical past of the city.

Dozza, Brisighella: discover Sangiovese wine from Bologna

Emilia Romagna in Northern Italy is the region of the river Po’ and the Apennines mountains. Some popular destinations are Bologna, Parma, Rimini, and Ravenna while the coast is one of the Summer meccas for Italians. But there are more lovely places such as Dozza and Brisighella. Read more to know their secrets.

Dozza, painted walls and much more

Italia, Emilia, Bologna, Dozza
The painted walls of Dozza – image

Surrounded by hills and proud of its Medieval past, Dozza nowadays hosts an interesting event every two years since 1965. International and local artists paint the walls of the houses so that Dozza becomes an open air art gallery. The paintings remain giving a picturesque look to the town very attractive to locals and visitors.

When walking through its narrow historical center, visit the church with an amazing work by Marco Palmezzano, dating back to the 15th century. If you want to know everything about Romagna gastronomy, the Festa delle Arzdore, held during the first week of September, is your event. Tortellini, tagliatelle and green lasagne are some of the main regional dishes. But do not forget to taste mortadella, ragú and formaggio di fossa cheese.

Brisighella in the Valley of Lamone

Brisighella homes
Pretty Brisighella – image

Founded by Maghinardo Pagani, the town is marked by the presence of three rocky promontories, each one occupied by a different monument: the Manfredian Rock, Monticino Sanctuary and the Clock Tower. Defensive buildings meet up old churches near the main street know as Via del Borgo or Via degli Asini (the Donkeys Road). Visit La Pieve di Santa Maria in Tiberiaco and La Pieve di San Giovanni in Ottavo, both churches dating back more than one thousand years, though they have been rebuilt and restored over time.
Brisighella can boast nowadays of being one of the most beautiful towns in Italy enjoying a high quality of life, attracting many tourists during the Medieval fair held at the beginning of the Summer.

Brisighella has another important product: Brisighello olive oil. This is a recognised PDO product in italy. The olive oil trees are a native variety of the area that have unique tasting notes. The olive oil has a slight pleasantly bitter taste a characteristics given by the clay soils of the area.  In the last week of November the town host the Olive oil festival, a must see for every olive oil fan.

Sangiovese wine

Both Dozza and Brisighella organize festivals dedicated to the production and distribution of their high quality wines. Sangiovese wine is the name of the red grape variety with the suggestive meaning of “the blood of Jove”. There are other types of wine in Emilia Romagna such as Lambrusco, but it is Sangiovese the flagship product for its top quality. High acidity and rustic full body are two of the main characteristics of Sangiovese wine which make it perfect to combine with typical Italian cuisine such as pasta and cured meats. But it is also good with roasts and smoked food, depending on the variety and the origin of the product.
The variety of Sangiovese grape has been planted in Italy since humanity began to live in the area. The wines produced have different features according to their origins, but they all have in common the perfect balance in acidity, tannins content and colour  Fruit components in their taste, herbal after-taste and a relatively high alcohol content are some other features of the Sangiovese wine.

Degustazione - Brunello di Montalcino - 04/10/2007
Wine tasting in Italy – image

If you are planning to visit Emilia Romagna, wineries in the area of Bologna can be very interesting as well as tasting the delicious wines produced in them.