Ravenna is one of the most unusual towns in Emilia-Romagna. Today you will find a sleepy town with memories of a great past, luring tourists to explore what remains. As the capital of the Western Roman Empire (from A.D. 402), the Visigoth Empire (from A.D. 473), and the Byzantine Empire under Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora (A.D. 540-752), Ravenna became one of the greatest cities on the Mediterranean.
Ravenna achieved its cultural peak as part of the Byzantine Empire between the 6th and the 8th centuries, and it is known for the many well-preserved mosaics created during that time, the finest in all Western art and the most splendid, outside Istanbul. The low Byzantine domes of its churches still evoke its Eastern past.
In Ravenna, visit the splendid Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, erected in the 5th century A.D. and the tomb of the great poet Dante, who finished "The Divine Comedy" in Ravenna and died there in 1321, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, and the magnificent basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe.
The best way to see any city worth seeing is by foot and at leisure. History is written on its streets and this is particularly true for Ravenna. The beauty of the city is also to be found in the old center which is closed to traffic and vibrant with local color and life. The square with its open air cafes, the passing of hundreds of bicycles, the market, the elegant shop windows all contribute to a relaxed atmosphere and the slower pace of bygone days.
Romagna is such a treasure trove not to be missed: step inside the city's ancient monuments, including five sites on UNESCO's Heritage List, and you'll see things you can't see anywhere else in the world!