Emilia Romagna - Places to Visit - Ravenna
Once situated on the Adriatic coast, Ravenna now lies 12 km. away, though linked to the sea by a navigable canal, on the plain between the Lamone and Uniti Rivers, to the south of the Comacchio Valleys, 4 m. above sea level.
Founded according to Strabo by the Thessalians on some small isles which later sank, under Roman domination, it grew in importance as a port, commercial and military centre; in 409 AD.
Honorius made it the seat of the Empire. At the fall of the Empire, Ravenna became the capital of the Goths and then of the Byzantines, enjoying a period of great prosperity under the latter (6th-8th century).
After brief Lombard and Frankish domination, it passed to the Popes and then to the German Emperors. In the period of the comuni the Signoria of the Da Polentas became important; about the middle of the 15th century, it fell to Venice, which at the beginning of the 16th century gave it to the Pope.
Monuments: Basilica di San Vitale (Palaeochristian, 6th century), Mausoleo di Galla Placidia (5th century), Battistero Neo niano (5th century baptistry), Sant'Apollinare Nuovo (6th century, Aryan church erected by Theodoric, King of the Goths, later reconsacrated as a Catholic church), San Giovanni Evangelista (5th century), Battistero degli Ariani (5th-6th century baptistry), Chiesa di San Francesco (10th century), Sepolcro di Dante (18th century, the poet died in exile in Ravenna after a stay of four years with the Da Polenta family), Palazzo degli Esarchi (8th century); 4 km away is Sant'Apollinare in Classe (6th century), Byzantine mosaics); 2 km away is the Mausoleo di Teodorico (6th century, Theodoric's mausoleum).
Apart from traditional agricultural activities, the city's economy is based on an industrial sector which underwent radical development following the discovery of natural gas to the north of the inhabited area in the early 1950's.
This stimulated the petrochemical (large refineries) and chemical (fertilizers, plastics) industries, which joined the existing textile and food sectors. Ravenna is also an important commercial junction, based on a busy trading port.
Events: Dantesque performances (14th September), `Ravenna Jazz' at the Rocca Brancaleone (summer), Festival of organ music and ballet (summer).
Famous People: San Pier Damiani (doctor of the Church, 1007-1072), Giuseppe Pasolini (politician, 1815-1876), Pellegrino Matteucci (explorer, 1850-1881).
Cultural Institutions: Museo Nazionale and Museo Arcivescovile (museums), Pinacoteca Comunale (art gallery), Museo Dantesco (Dante museum), Biblioteca Oriani (library), Accademia di Belle Arti (academy of fine arts), Scuola di Mosaico (school of mosaics).
In the Province: Faenza (ceramic production, Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche, Museo Torricelliano), Lugo (Museo Baracca), Cervia (seaside resort) and Brisighella.