The 18 best sights of Ravenna – descriptions and photos

Ravenna Sights

Galla Placidia Mausoleum Theodoric Mausoleum Santo Spirito Tomb of Dante Archbishop’s Chapel Arian Baptistery Basilica Sant Apollinare in Classe Restaurant Peter Pan

This site contains a collection of Ravenna sights – photos, descriptions and traveler tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you’ll find answers to what to see in Ravenna, where to go and where to stay at the most popular and interesting places in Ravenna.

Galla Placidia Mausoleum

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (photo)

The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is probably the oldest Roman structure in Ravenna. It dates from around the 5th century. In 1996, the mausoleum was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The construction of this building is attributed to Galla Placidia, the daughter of Emperor Theodosius the Great, but the mausoleum never became her burial place – she died in Rome, and she was buried in her ancestral tomb.

The mausoleum is notable for the fact that it preserves the earliest example of mosaic monuments. The interior walls of the building are covered with fanciful Byzantine mosaics, and light streams in through window panels made of alabaster.

The plan of the building shows that it is made in the form of a Latin cross, with a cube in the center and a dome placed above it, invisible from outside the building.

In general, the appearance of the mausoleum is rather ascetic – it is decorated only by flat vertical ledges – spades, the entrance to the building, on which the vines are winding, are guarded by two panthers.

Coordinates : 44.42127600,12.19721500

Theodoric Mausoleum

Mausoleum of Theodoric (photo)

The mausoleum of King Theodoric is situated in Via delle Industrie (translated as Industrial Street). The mausoleum was built under Theodoric the Great in 520. It was formerly behind Ravenna, near the Gothic cemetery, but is now located almost in the center of the city.

The mausoleum is situated next to the Basilica of St. Vitus, 1.5 km from it. The peculiarity of the architectural construction is that the mausoleum was not built of bricks, as most Equinox buildings are, but of special blocks. The blocks were made of instrium limestone. The mausoleum of Theodoric the Great has two tiers and a rotunda shape.

The lower tier has 10 faces, is surrounded by columns and, most likely, was meant to bury family members. There is another opinion that the tier was a chapel for services. The upper tier is a decagon with niches and is smaller than the lower one. Inside the niches are semicircular arches inside which the sarcophagus of Theodoric the Great is placed.

The dome of the mausoleum is hewn from 300-ton solid stone and is fitted with ten brackets. The brackets most likely only decorate the dome, but were previously used in its installation.

The mausoleum of Theodoric the Great is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Coordinates : 44.42452800,12.21000500

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Church of Santo Spirito

The Church of Santo Spirito (photo)

The church of Santo Spirito was built in the 18th century in honor of the Holy Spirit. It is located next to the baptistery of the Orthodox, built at the end of the fifth century.

The first church on this site arose in the fifth century on the initiative of the local bishop Ursus. At that time it was known as the Ursian Basilica. After many centuries the building collapsed and a new temple was built in its place according to the design of the architect Gian Francesco Buonamici.

The church building is decorated by porticoes with three arches. Inside, the building consists of three naves in which there are ancient sarcophagi, decorative panels, an ancient pulpit and other monuments of early Christian art. One of the sarcophagi houses the body of Rinaldo da Concordejo, bishop of Ravenna, while the other contains the relics of St Barbatian, revered among the inhabitants of Ravenna.

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Coordinates: 44.41493100,12.19388000

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Dante’s Tomb

The Tomb of Dante (photo)

The great Italian poet Dante Alighieri was banished from his native Florence on religious grounds. After a long wander, he found refuge at the court of Ravenna’s ruler Guido Novello da Polenta.

In 1321 Dante went to Venice as an ambassador, but fell ill with fever and died. The poet was buried by the roadside near the church of St. Francis. It was not until the fifteenth century that Florentines secured permission to return Dante’s ashes to his native Florence, but found that the tomb was empty. The fact is that his ashes were hidden by the monks, not wanting to give the famous poet to Florence. It took another two centuries before the Pope allowed Dante’s ashes to be buried in a small cathedral that was built by architect Camillo Morigia in Ravenna.

The tomb resembles a small neoclassical temple with a triangular pediment and a small dome. Inside is the marble sarcophagus in which Dante Alighieri’s ashes now rest. Above the sarcophagus is a bas-relief of 1483 by Pietro Lombardo on which is carved Dante, immersed in reading.

Coordinates: 44.41624900,12.20097800

Archdiocesan Chapel

The Archbishop's Chapel (photo)

The Archbishop’s Chapel, also known as the “House Church of the Bishops of Ravenna”, was built in the 5th century in honor of the Apostle Andrew.

The shape of the chapel resembles a Greek cross, which ends in an apse on the east side. At the entrance there is a mosaic with white lilies, roses and colorful birds, which looks amazing. Above the entrance there is also a lunette decorated with a mosaic depicting the young Christ in the form of a warrior.

The main image of the chapel is a mosaic of a starry sky with a cross, the vault of which is decorated with Christ’s monogram. Inside the chapel, the most valuable object is a silver cross decorated with 40 medallions.

After the restoration of the chapel in 1914, the exterior of the entrance of the building was changed.

Coordinates: 44.41529900,12.19739900

Arian Baptistery

The Arian Baptistery (photo)

The Arian Baptistery is located in the city of Ravenna, 600 meters from the basilica of St. Vitale. It was built during the reign of Theodoric the Great in the V-VI centuries.

From the 18th century to the 20th century the baptistery was privately owned. The mid-20th century was a time of transformation for the building – all the additions to the Arian Baptistery were demolished.

The architectural structure is very similar to the Orthodox baptistery. The octagonal, central building is lined with sturdy bricks fired in the fire. Under the roof of the baptistery there is a cornice painted with a toothed ornament. The mosaic dome, on which fragments of the Baptism of Christ are depicted, attracts much attention in the interior of the building. The space in the Arian Baptistery is much smaller than in the Orthodox Baptistery, so there are only a couple of concentric rows. In them are placed 12 apostles with crowns, and in the center is a depiction of the Baptism of the Lord.

The peculiarity of the baptistery is simplicity of forms and predominance of golden color. The simplicity of the painted scenes, the rich golden tone, the beauty of the architectural ensemble make the Arian Baptistery one of the main attractions of Ravenna.

Coordinates: 44.41871400,12.20240100

Basilica of St. Apollinare in Classe

Basilica of Sant Apollinare in Classe (photo)

The Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in the port district of Ravenna Classe is a notable monument of early Byzantine art. The basilica was built in the 6th century over the tomb of St. Apollinarius, the first bishop of Ravenna.

The temple is built of thin burnt bricks. Light enters the building through the high facade windows, as well as through the windows of the central and side aisles. A broad staircase built in 1723 leads to the apse. The basilica is adjoined by a bell tower 38 meters high and almost 7 meters in diameter.

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Inside the temple are decorated with the late Equinian mosaics of Justinian period of VI century, as well as mosaics of IX century. The great altar of the central nave is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and next to it lies a marble slab announcing that this is where the relics of St. Apollinarius were found.

In the side aisles of the church are ten sarcophagi from the medieval period, many of which are the burial places of the bishops of Ravenna.

Coordinates: 44.38000000,12.23250000

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Peter Pan Restaurant

Peter Pan Restaurant (photo)

Peter Pan Restaurant is an inexpensive Italian pizza restaurant where all pizza lovers gather. It is located near the sea, next to the beautiful Hotel Flora.

Here you will find traditional Italian dishes: ravioli, a wide range of pastas and a rich variety of pizzas, which can be enjoyed even by vegetarians. There is also a good choice of wines.

The interior is decorated in warm colors and creates an atmosphere of relaxation and tranquility – you won’t want to leave. It is a place to go no matter what the occasion, whether it is a romantic date, a business meeting or a family dinner.

Coordinates: 44.27202800,12.35171600

The most popular attractions in Ravenna with descriptions and photos for every taste. Choose the best places to visit famous places in Ravenna on our website.

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18 Sights worth seeing in Ravenna

Sights of Ravenna

The sights of Ravenna have long attracted history buffs from all over the world as there are a number of unique sites dating back to the early Byzantine era, which have survived in superb condition and are now protected by UNESCO. Ravenna is located on the east coast of Italy between San Marino and Bologna and is the capital of the province of the same name.

Let’s face it: the city’s sumptuous Byzantine architecture and mosaics are considered some of the best in the country. Given its proximity to many coastal resorts and cities such as Bologna and Florence, it is clear why Ravenna remains an extremely popular and sought-after tourist destination. So here is a list of its main attractions.

Baptistery of Neon (Baptistery of the Orthodox)

Neon Baptistery (Orthodox Baptistery)

Neon Baptistery (Baptistery of the Orthodox).| Photo: Richard Mortel / Flickr.

As the oldest building in Ravenna, the Neon Baptistery is considered one of the most important religious sites in the city. It was built on the site of the ancient Roman baths. The baptistery has an octagonal shape and a rather discreet appearance, which cannot be said about its interior decoration.

Inside, you’ll see a stunning series of colored mosaics depicting religious scenes, including the baptism of Jesus by John and the procession of the twelve apostles. Not far from the baptistery is the Archdiocesan Chapel. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Baptistery of Neon is a truly magnificent site, and its artwork is sure to make the most lasting impression.

Address: Battistero Neoniano (o degli Ortodossi), Piazza Duomo, Ravenna, Italy.

Basilica of San Vitale

San Vitale Basilica

San Vitale Basilica. | Photo: wikimedia.

Not far from the Baptistery of Neon is the Basilica of San Vitale. This amazing structure has a rather simple appearance, and its massive octagonal dome makes the building very similar to the neighboring baptistery.

As with the baptistery, the exterior of the basilica is not its main attraction, as all the most interesting is inside: the interior is decorated with amazing mosaics and is considered one of the best examples of Byzantine art in Italy.

You are sure to be amazed by the abundance of small details, colors and intricate paintings that cover almost the entire interior of the church-each wall and arch depicts a particular religious scene or person, and the level of their execution is simply stunning.

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Address: Basilica di San Vitale, Via San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy.

Galla Placidia Mausoleum

Galla Placidia Mausoleum

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. | Photo: wikimedia.

The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is another UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ravenna. It is located next to the Basilica of San Vitale, and its interior is also decorated with magnificent mosaics, which are considered some of the most striking and well-preserved examples of early Christian art of this kind in all of Italy.

This mausoleum, dedicated to Galla Placidia, daughter of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, is a rather simple structure on the outside, but the interior is characterized by cylindrical vaults, arches, and lunettes decorated with mosaics with religious motifs. Although the mausoleum was built more than a thousand years ago, it is in immaculate condition and is another architectural “jewel” of Ravenna.

Address: Mausoleo di Galla Placidia, Via San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy.

Basilica of Sant Apollinare Nuovo.

Basilica of Sant Apollinare Nuovo

Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo.| Photo: Konrad Hädener / Flickr.

This ancient basilica was built by King Theodoric the Great in 504 AD in honor of Christ the Redeemer. It is located in the eastern part of the old city and can be easily reached on foot when walking along the Via di Roma towards the art museum of Ravenna.

A large bell tower stands to the right of the building, and the main entrance is decorated with stone arches. As with other key religious and historical buildings in the city, the interior of this building is decorated with incredibly beautiful colored mosaics describing a variety of biblical motifs. In particular, a large part of them are devoted to the miracles of Christ.

Address: Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Via di Roma, Ravenna, Italy.

Basilica di San Francesco

Basilica of San Francesco

Basilica di San Francesco.

This church may not seem as important as other similar structures in Ravenna, but it still plays an important role in the cultural and historical life of the city and houses important artifacts and tombs.

You can find this charming building between the Baptistery of Neon and the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare. The original church was built in the ninth century, but then it was rebuilt many times, with the bell tower added only a century later. The interior of San Francesco is rather ascetic but there is a rather creepy crypt which often floods and the tomb of Liberius III, a local V century bishop.

Address: Basilica di San Francesco, Via Guido da Polenta, Ravenna, Italy.

National Museum of Ravenna.

National Museum of Ravenna

National Museum of Ravenna. | Photo: wikimedia.

The National Museum of Ravenna occupies the building of the former Benedictine monastery on Via San Vitale not far from the Basilica of San Vitale. It presents remarkable and very interesting works of art, artifacts and relics from different periods of time.

This huge collection includes ancient tombs, rare oriental marble capitals, textiles, ivory and an impressive selection of ancient weapons. There are also various artifacts from 8 local UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Basilica of San Francesco.

Address: Museo Nazionale di Ravenna, Via San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy.

Theodoric Mausoleum

Theodoric Mausoleum

Mausoleum of Theodoricus.| Photo: Carole Raddato / Flickr.

Theodoric, King of the Ostgoths who ruled in the 6th century, is an important figure in the history of Ravenna. Theodoric made Ravenna the main stronghold of his kingdom and it was here that he ordered the construction of a great mausoleum for himself, where he wished to find his eternal resting place.

The mausoleum was built of stone and lasted nearly 1,500 years. The roof of this structure was made of a huge monolithic piece of Istrian stone weighing 300 tons and 10 meters in diameter. Although the interior of the mausoleum is quite simple and unassuming, it is still worth a visit to touch the incredible history of the city.

Address: Teodorico Mausoleum, Via delle Industrie, Ravenna, Italy.

Marina di Ravenna

Marina di Ravenna

Marina di Ravenna | Photo: DiRavenna / Flickr.

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Just northeast of Ravenna on the Adriatic coast is the wonderful coastal town of Marina di Ravenna. Marina di Ravenna is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital and just enjoy the bright sun, fresh sea air and measured relaxation by the water.

At the northern edge of town you’ll find a charming harbor with plenty of fishing and sailing boats, and at the southern end there’s a long stretch of golden sandy beach lined with hotels, beach bars, restaurants and other establishments that offer the perfect slice of Italian beach life.

Address: Marina di Ravenna, Ravenna, Italy.

Dante’s Tomb

Tomb of Dante

Dante’s Tomb. | Photo: wikimedia.

Dante Alighieri is a legendary Italian poet who wrote many popular literary works, the chief of which is undoubtedly considered the Divine Comedy, which details Dante’s journey through hell to heaven.

Dante is also known for drawing attention to the problems of the Italian language at a time when local dialects often made it difficult for people from two different regions to understand each other. Dante’s actual tomb is in Ravenna, and in Florence you can visit his memorial. This simple marble structure, which holds Dante’s bones, is one of the main relics of Ravenna.

Address: Tomba di Dante, Via Dante Alighieri, Ravenna, Italy.

Arian Baptistery

Arian Baptistery

Arian Baptistery | Photo: Richard Mortel / Flickr.

The Arian Baptistery, built by the famous King Theodoric the Great, completes a fantastic series of beautiful religious structures in Ravenna. It is easy to find this magnificent baptistery – it is located in the immediate vicinity of Piazza del Popolo, next to the Church of the Holy Spirit.

It was built in the 6th century, at the same time when many other important religious buildings in Ravenna were built. The building has the typical octagonal shape of the city. Of course, inside, the Arian Baptistery is richly frescoed, and its most striking feature is the magnificent mosaic on the ceiling depicting the baptism of Jesus Christ. This building is an excellent example of Arian religious art.

Address: Arian Baptistery, Piazzetta degli Ariani, Ravenna, Italy.

Piazza del Popolo

Piazza del Popolo

Piazza del Popolo. | Photo: wikimedia.

Ravenna has several delightful squares, and one of the busiest and most popular is Piazza del Popolo. This square is located in the center of the Old Town within walking distance of the Basilica of San Francesco and the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare.

Piazza del Popolo has several important government buildings, including the Palazzo Comunale and the Ravenna territorial government building. In addition to the fantastic architecture, there are also restaurants with outdoor terraces where you can relax in the fresh air and enjoy the local views.

Address: Piazza del Popolo, Ravenna, Italy.

Mirabilandia Theme Park

Mirabilandia Theme Park

Mirabilandia Theme Park.

In Ravenna, there is no better place for a family vacation than Mirabilandia. This wonderful theme park is located in the southeast of the city and is full of interesting rides and attractions for all tastes.

It’s one of the most visited theme parks in all of Italy, among the most famous ones you should look at first of all are Divertical, Ispeed, Katun and Eurowheel. On the Ispeed rollercoaster you will race through cascades of turns and turns at speeds of over 100 km/h, and the Eurowheel is the second tallest Ferris wheel on the continent – it is 90 meters high.

Address: Mirabilandia, SS16, Savio, Ravenna, Italy.

Archdiocesan Chapel

Archdiocesan Chapel

Archbishop’s Chapel.| Photo: wikimedia.

Not far from Neon Baptistery is the Archbishop’s Palace, inside which is the Archbishop’s Chapel, one of Ravenna’s eight UNESCO-protected sites. The bishop’s private oratory, built at the turn of the sixth century, is shaped like a Greek cross. The lower part of the walls is covered with marble and the top is painted with mosaics. There is also a small museum in the palace, which contains an Egyptian throne from the sixth century with ivory reliefs.

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Address: Archdiocesan Chapel, Piazza Arcivescovado, Ravenna, Italy.

Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe

Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe

Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe. | Photo: wikimedia.

On the road from Ravenna to Rimini, about six kilometers south of the city center, you can spot the massive round bell tower of Sant’Apollinare in Classe. This basilica was built in the mid-6th century near the ancient Roman port of Classis and between 673 and 679 was richly decorated with mosaics that complemented the earlier motifs.

If you think you’ve seen a panel on the apse depicting Bishop Reparatus with Emperor Constantine IV, you’d be right: the mosaic clearly imitates the portrait of Emperor Justinian in the Basilica of San Vitale. Looking at the marble sarcophagi of the archbishops standing in the aisles, you can trace the changes in religious styles and aesthetics between the fifth and eighth centuries. Also note the bronze lattice in the crypt. Here you can also look at ancient pagan tombstones that were reused in the construction of the church.

Address: Sant’Apollinare in Classe, Via Romea Sud, Classe, Ravenna, Italy.

Basilica of San Giovanni Evangelista

Basilica of San Giovanni Evangelista

Basilica of San Giovanni Evangelista. | Photo: wikimedia.

The Church of San Giovanni Evangelista was founded by Galla Placidia in 424. It is located northeast of Sant’Apollinare, near the station, which was badly damaged during World War II.

Unfortunately, the bombs dropped on the train station destroyed much of the church, but after the war much of what was destroyed was rebuilt.

That said, many original elements can still be seen here, including most of the columns and their early Byzantine capitals. Many of the early mosaics were irretrievably lost after the reconstruction of the 16th century, but some of those completed in 1213 have survived unchanged. The walls of the building are also decorated with mosaics of mythical animals, medieval motifs and historical scenes.

Address: San Giovanni Evangelista, Viale Farini, Ravenna, Italy.

Safari Ravenna Zoo

Safari Ravenna Zoo

The Safari Ravenna Zoo.

What can the city of Ravenna offer to young tourists? What to see for those who are not yet ready to enjoy the beauty of the frescoes of ancient basilicas? The local Safari Ravenna Zoo, of course. More than 450 animals of 40 different species live here, so there’s plenty for young fidgeters to see! The zoo offers three different options to visit – a car safari, an electric car safari, and a train safari. During the trip, guides will tell guests interesting facts about the local animals and the history of the zoo itself.

Address: Safari Ravenna, Via dei Tre Lati, Ravenna, Italy.

San Marino trip

Guaita Fortress

Guaita Fortress.

If you decide to see Ravenna, you also have the unique opportunity to visit one of the smallest countries in the world, San Marino. San Marino is located about an hour south of Ravenna and does not even have access to the sea and has a population of only 33,200 people.

Although it is in every respect a “dwarf” state, it is also one of the richest countries in terms of per capita income in the world. In the center of San Marino stands Mount Titano, on which stands the epic fortress of Guaita, which is the main attraction of the country. Other points of interest include San Marino Cathedral, the cableway that leads to the top of Mount Titano, and the remarkable Palazzo Pubblico.

Address: San Marino, Italy.

City of Cesenatico

City of Cesenatico

City of Cesenatico.

Charming resort town Cesenatico is located about 34 minutes southeast of Ravenna on the Adriatic Sea coast. A long beach with soft golden sand and all sorts of amenities awaits anyone who decides to drive to this glorious place.

The Diamanti Beach Village and Bagno Marconi resort complexes have outdoor pools and waterslides, and the main promenade is lined with luxury restaurants, cozy bars, and hotels with quite democratic prices. Don’t forget to stroll along Andrea Costa Square and walk to the magnificent Grand Hotel Cesenatico.

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