Ravenna

Ravenna

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Ravenna raˈvenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna
Province of Ravenna
The Province of Ravenna is a province in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Ravenna.It has an area of 1,858 km², and a total population of 365,369 . There are 18 comuni in the province , Comuni of the Province of Ravenna. As of May 31, 2005, the main comuni by...

 in the Emilia-Romagna
Emilia-Romagna
Emilia–Romagna is an administrative region of Northern Italy comprising the two historic regions of Emilia and Romagna. The capital is Bologna; it has an area of and about 4.4 million inhabitants....

 region of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and the second largest comune
Comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

in Italy by land area, although, at 652.89 km² (252.1 sq mi), it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. Ravenna was the capital city
Capital City
Capital City was a television show produced by Euston Films which focused on the lives of investment bankers in London living and working on the corporate trading floor for the fictional international bank Shane-Longman....

 of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 from 402 until that empire collapsed in 476, leaving Constantinople as the only capital of the Roman world. Afterwards, it served as the capital of the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths. Later, the city formed the centre of the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna
Exarchate of Ravenna
The Exarchate of Ravenna or of Italy was a centre of Byzantine power in Italy, from the end of the 6th century to 751, when the last exarch was put to death by the Lombards.-Introduction:...

 until the invasion of the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 in 751, after which it then became the seat of the Kingdom of the Lombards
Kingdom of the Lombards
The Kingdom of the Lombards or Lombard Kingdom was an early medieval state, with its capital in Pavia, established by the Lombards on the Italian Peninsula between 568-569 and 774 .Effective control by the rulers of both the major areas that constituted the...

.

Although an inland city, Ravenna is connected to the Adriatic Sea
Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula, and the system of the Apennine Mountains from that of the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges...

 by the Candiano Canal. It is the location of eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

History


The origin of the name Ravenna is unclear, although it is believed the name is Etruscan. Some have speculated that "ravenna" is related to "Rasenna" (later "Rasna"), the term that the Etruscans used for themselves, but there is no agreement on this point.

Ancient era



The origins of Ravenna are uncertain. The first settlement is variously attributed to (and then has seen the copresence of) the Thessalians, the Etruscans and the Umbri
Umbri
The Umbri were an Italic people of ancient Italy. A region called Umbria still exists and is currently occupied by Italian speakers. It is somewhat smaller than the ancient Umbria....

ans, afterwards its territory was settled also by the Senones
Senones
The Senones were an ancient Gaulish tribe.In about 400 BC they crossed the Alps and, having driven out the Umbrians settled on the east coast of Italy from Forlì to Ancona, in the so-called ager Gallicus, and founded the town of Sena Gallica , which became their capital. In 391 BC they invaded...

, especially the southern countryside of the city (that wasn't part of the lagoon), the Ager Decimanus. Ravenna consisted of houses built on piles on a series of small islands in a marshy lagoon – a situation similar to Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 several centuries later. The Romans ignored it during their conquest of the Po River
Po River
The Po |Ligurian]]: Bodincus or Bodencus) is a river that flows either or – considering the length of the Maira, a right bank tributary – eastward across northern Italy, from a spring seeping from a stony hillside at Pian del Re, a flat place at the head of the Val Po under the northwest face...

 Delta, but later accepted it into the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 as a federated town in 89 BC. In 49 BC, it was the location where Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 gathered his forces before crossing the Rubicon
Rubicon
The Rubicon is a shallow river in northeastern Italy, about 80 kilometres long, running from the Apennine Mountains to the Adriatic Sea through the southern Emilia-Romagna region, between the towns of Rimini and Cesena. The Latin word rubico comes from the adjective "rubeus", meaning "red"...

. Later, after his battle against Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

 in 31 BC, Emperor Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 founded the military harbor of Classe. This harbor, protected at first by its own walls, was an important station of the Roman Imperial Fleet
Roman Navy
The Roman Navy comprised the naval forces of the Ancient Roman state. Although the navy was instrumental in the Roman conquest of the Mediterranean basin, it never enjoyed the prestige of the Roman legions...

. Nowadays the city is landlocked, but Ravenna remained an important seaport on the Adriatic until the early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. During the German campaigns, Thusnelda
Thusnelda
Thusnelda was the daughter of the Cheruscan prince Segestes. Her father had intended her for someone else, but Arminius, who subsequently led a coalition of Germanic tribes to victory over Publius Quinctilius Varus and his legions in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD, eloped with her and...

, widow of Arminius
Arminius
Arminius , also known as Armin or Hermann was a chieftain of the Germanic Cherusci who defeated a Roman army in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest...

, and Marbod
Marbod
Maroboduus , was king of the Marcomanni. The name "Maroboduus" can be broken down into two Celtic elements, māro- meaning "great" , and bodwos meaning "raven"...

, King of the Marcomanni
Marcomanni
The Marcomanni were a Germanic tribe, probably related to the Buri, Suebi or Suevi.-Origin:Scholars believe their name derives possibly from Proto-Germanic forms of "march" and "men"....

, were confined at Ravenna.

Ravenna greatly prospered under Roman rule. Emperor Trajan
Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

 built a 70 km (43.5 mi) long aqueduct at the beginning of the 2nd century. In AD 402, Emperor Honorius transferred the capital of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 from Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 to Ravenna. The transfer was made primarily for defensive purposes: Ravenna was surrounded by swamps and marshes and had ease of access to Imperial forces of the Eastern Roman Empire. However, in 409, King Alaric I
Alaric I
Alaric I was the King of the Visigoths from 395–410. Alaric is most famous for his sack of Rome in 410, which marked a decisive event in the decline of the Roman Empire....

 of the Visigoths simply bypassed Ravenna, and went on to sack Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and to take Galla Placidia
Galla Placidia
Aelia Galla Placidia , daughter of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, was the Regent for Emperor Valentinian III from 423 until his majority in 437, and a major force in Roman politics for most of her life...

, daughter of Emperor Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

, hostage. After many vicissitudes, Galla Placidia returned to Ravenna with her son, Emperor Valentinian III
Valentinian III
-Family:Valentinian was born in the western capital of Ravenna, the only son of Galla Placidia and Flavius Constantius. The former was the younger half-sister of the western emperor Honorius, and the latter was at the time Patrician and the power behind the throne....

 and the support of her nephew Theodosius II
Theodosius II
Theodosius II , commonly surnamed Theodosius the Younger, or Theodosius the Calligrapher, was Byzantine Emperor from 408 to 450. He is mostly known for promulgating the Theodosian law code, and for the construction of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople...

. Ravenna enjoyed a period of peace, during which time the Christian religion was favoured by the imperial court, and the city gained its most famous monuments, both secular (demolished) and Christian (largely preserved).

The late 400s saw the dissolution of Roman authority in the west—historians conventionally treat the year 476 as the marker for the "fall" of the western Roman Empire
Decline of the Roman Empire
The decline of the Roman Empire refers to the gradual societal collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Many theories of causality prevail, but most concern the disintegration of political, economic, military, and other social institutions, in tandem with foreign invasions and usurpers from within the...

. Eastern Emperor Zeno
Zeno (emperor)
Zeno , originally named Tarasis, was Byzantine Emperor from 474 to 475 and again from 476 to 491. Domestic revolts and religious dissension plagued his reign, which nevertheless succeeded to some extent in foreign issues...

 sent Ostrogoth
Ostrogoth
The Ostrogoths were a branch of the Goths , a Germanic tribe who developed a vast empire north of the Black Sea in the 3rd century AD and, in the late 5th century, under Theodoric the Great, established a Kingdom in Italy....

 King Theodoric the Great
Theodoric the Great
Theodoric the Great was king of the Ostrogoths , ruler of Italy , regent of the Visigoths , and a viceroy of the Eastern Roman Empire...

 to re-take the Italian peninsula. After the Battle of Verona
Battle of Verona
The Battle of Verona was fought in June of 403 by Alaric's Visigoths, and a Roman force led by Stilicho. Alaric was defeated and subsequently withdrew from Italy....

, Odoacer
Odoacer
Flavius Odoacer , also known as Flavius Odovacer, was the first King of Italy. His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of Julius Nepos and, after Nepos' death in 480, of the...

 retreated to Ravenna, where he withstood a siege of three years by Theodoric, until the taking of Rimini
Rimini
Rimini is a medium-sized city of 142,579 inhabitants in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, and capital city of the Province of Rimini. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, on the coast between the rivers Marecchia and Ausa...

 deprived Ravenna of supplies. After Theodoric slew Odoacer, Ravenna was the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom
Ostrogothic Kingdom
The Kingdom established by the Ostrogoths in Italy and neighbouring areas lasted from 493 to 553. In Italy the Ostrogoths replaced Odoacer, the de facto ruler of Italy who had deposed the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire in 476. The Gothic kingdom reached its zenith under the rule of its...

 of Italy.

After 493, Theodoric employed Roman architects for secular and religious structures, including the lost palace near Sant'Apollinare Nuovo; the "Palace of Theodoric" was an outbuilding. Theodoric and his followers were Arians
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

, but co-existed peacefully with the Latins. He allowed Roman citizens within his kingdom to be subject to Roman law and the Roman judicial system. The Goths, meanwhile, lived under their own laws and customs. In 519, when a mob had burned down the synagogues of Ravenna, Theodoric ordered the town to rebuild them at its own expense. Theodoric died in 526 and was succeeded by his daughter Amalasunta, who was killed in 535.

However, the orthodox Christian Byzantine Emperor Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

, opposed both Ostrogoth rule and the Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 variety of Christianity. In 535 his general Belisarius
Belisarius
Flavius Belisarius was a general of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental to Emperor Justinian's ambitious project of reconquering much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire, which had been lost less than a century previously....

 invaded Italy and in 540 conquered Ravenna. Ravenna became the seat of Byzantine government in Italy.

The Restauratio Imperii in Ravenna also benefited from the nearby harbour of Classe (Classis), which is sometimes called the Pompeii of Late Antiquity. The most representative remnant of that period is the church of St. Apollinaris (6th–7th century of the Christian Era), whose relics were laid in the church. Although Classe was founded during the Roman period, it grew mainly during the Late Empire. As Ravenna's port, it was one of the key exchange platforms in the 6th–7th century, and the main harbour of the Italian Adriatic seashore.

Exarchate of Ravenna



Following the conquests of Belisarius
Belisarius
Flavius Belisarius was a general of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental to Emperor Justinian's ambitious project of reconquering much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire, which had been lost less than a century previously....

 for the Emperor Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 in the 6th century, Ravenna became the seat of the Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 governor of Italy, the Exarch
Exarch
In the Byzantine Empire, an exarch was governor with extended authority of a province at some remove from the capital Constantinople. The prevailing situation frequently involved him in military operations....

, and was known as the Exarchate of Ravenna
Exarchate of Ravenna
The Exarchate of Ravenna or of Italy was a centre of Byzantine power in Italy, from the end of the 6th century to 751, when the last exarch was put to death by the Lombards.-Introduction:...

. It was at this time that the Ravenna Cosmography
Ravenna Cosmography
The Ravenna Cosmography was compiled by an anonymous cleric in Ravenna around AD 700. It consists of a list of place-names covering the world from India to Ireland. Textual evidence indicates that the author frequently used maps as his source....

 was written.

Middle Ages and Renaissance


The Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

, under King Liutprand, occupied Ravenna in 712, but were forced to return it to the Byzantines. However, in 751 the Lombard king, Aistulf
Aistulf
Aistulf was the Duke of Friuli from 744, King of Lombards from 749, and Duke of Spoleto from 751. His father was the Duke Pemmo.After his brother Ratchis became king, Aistulf succeeded him in Friuli. He succeeded him later as king when Ratchis abdicated to a monastery...

, succeeded in conquering Ravenna, thus ending Byzantine rule in northern Italy.

King Pepin
Pippin the Younger
Pepin , called the Short or the Younger , rarely the Great , was the first King of the Franks of the Carolingian dynasty...

 of France attacked the Lombards under orders of Pope Stephen II
Pope Stephen II
Pope Stephen II was Pope from 752 to 757, succeeding Pope Zachary following the death of Pope-elect Stephen. Stephen II marks the historical delineation between the Byzantine Papacy and the Frankish Papacy.-Allegiance to Constantinople:...

. Ravenna then became territory of the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

 in 784. In return, Pope Adrian I
Pope Adrian I
Pope Adrian was pope from February 1, 772 to December 25, 795. He was the son of Theodore, a Roman nobleman.Shortly after Adrian's accession the territory ruled by the papacy was invaded by Desiderius, king of the Lombards, and Adrian was compelled to seek the assistance of the Frankish king...

 authorized King Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 to take away anything from Ravenna that he liked. Charlemagne made three looting expeditions to Ravenna, removing a vast quantity of Roman columns, mosaic
Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

s, statues, and other portable items to enrich his capital of Aachen
Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

.

Under Papal rule, the archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

 of Ravenna enjoyed autocephaly
Autocephaly
Autocephaly , in hierarchical Christian churches and especially Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, is the status of a hierarchical church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop...

 from the Roman Church – a privilege obtained under Byzantine rule. Due to donations by the Ottonian
Ottonian
The Ottonian dynasty was a dynasty of Germanic Kings , named after its first emperor but also known as the Saxon dynasty after the family's origin. The family itself is also sometimes known as the Liudolfings, after its earliest known member Liudolf and one of its primary leading-names...

 emperors, the archbishop of Ravenna was the richest in Italy after the Papacy, and was thus successfully able to challenge the temporal authority of the Pope on occasion.

In 1198 Ravenna led a league of Romagna
Romagna
Romagna is an Italian historical region that approximately corresponds to the south-eastern portion of present-day Emilia-Romagna. Traditionally, it is limited by the Apennines to the south-west, the Adriatic to the east, and the rivers Reno and Sillaro to the north and west...

 cities against the Emperor, and the Pope was able to subdue it. After the war of 1218 the Traversari
Traversari
The Traversari are an ancient noble family of Italy. Their origins may lie in the late fifth century, being descendants of Theodore, General of the Heruli. There are other sources that cite the Traversari Decia as descendants from the Gens Decia of Ancient Rome. Theodoric I was named Count of...

 family was able to impose its rule in the city, which lasted until 1240. After a short period under an Imperial vicar, Ravenna was returned to the Papal States in 1248 and again to the Traversari until, in 1275, the Da Polenta established their long-lasting seigniory. One of the most illustrious residents of Ravenna at this time was the exiled poet Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

. The last of the Da Polenta, Ostasio III
Ostasio III da Polenta
Ostasio III da Polenta was the last lord of Ravenna of the da Polenta family.The son of Obizzo da Polenta, he inherited Ravenna but under the control of a proveditore from the nearby Republic of Venice...

, was ousted by the Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 in 1440, and the city was annexed to the Venetian territories.

Ravenna was ruled by Venice until 1509, when the area was invaded in the course of the Italian Wars
Italian Wars
The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Italian Wars or the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a series of conflicts from 1494 to 1559 that involved, at various times, most of the city-states of Italy, the Papal States, most of the major states of Western...

. In 1512, during the Holy League
War of the League of Cambrai
The War of the League of Cambrai, sometimes known as the War of the Holy League and by several other names, was a major conflict in the Italian Wars...

 wars, Ravenna was sacked by the French.

After the Venetian withdrawal, Ravenna was again ruled by legates of the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 as part of the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

. The city was damaged in a tremendous flood in May 1636. Over the next 300 years, a network of canals diverted nearby rivers and drained nearby swamps, thus reducing the possibility of flooding and creating a large belt of agricultural land around the city.

Modern age


Apart from another short occupation by Venice (1527–1529), Ravenna was part of the Papal States until 1796, when it was annexed to the French puppet state of the Cisalpine Republic
Cisalpine Republic
The Cisalpine Republic was a French client republic in Northern Italy that lasted from 1797 to 1802.-Birth:After the Battle of Lodi in May 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte proceeded to organize two states: one to the south of the Po River, the Cispadane Republic, and one to the north, the Transpadane...

, (Italian Republic
Italian Republic (Napoleonic)
The Italian Republic was a short-lived republic located in Northern Italy. It was a vassal state of the First French Republic of Napoleon.-The republic:...

 from 1802, and Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state founded in Northern Italy by Napoleon, fully influenced by revolutionary France, that ended with his defeat and fall.-Constitutional statutes:...

 from 1805). It was returned to the Papal States in 1814. Occupied by Piedmontese troops in 1859, Ravenna and the surrounding Romagna
Romagna
Romagna is an Italian historical region that approximately corresponds to the south-eastern portion of present-day Emilia-Romagna. Traditionally, it is limited by the Apennines to the south-west, the Adriatic to the east, and the rivers Reno and Sillaro to the north and west...

 area became part of the new unified Kingdom of Italy in 1861.

Main sights


Eight early Christian monuments of Ravenna are inscribed on the World Heritage List. These are
  • Neonian Baptistery (c. 430)
  • Mausoleum of Galla Placidia
    Mausoleum of Galla Placidia
    The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is a Roman building in Ravenna, Italy. It was listed with seven other structures in Ravenna in the World Heritage List in 1996...

     (c. 430)
  • Arian Baptistry
    Arian Baptistry
    The Arian Baptistry in Ravenna, Italy was erected by the Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great between the end of the 5th century and the beginning of the sixth century, at the same time as the Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo....

     (c. 500)
  • Archiepiscopal Chapel
    Archiepiscopal Chapel
    The Archbishop's Chapel is a chapel on the first floor of the bishops' palace in Ravenna, Italy, the smallest of the famous mosaic sites of the city. It is a private oratory of Trinitarian bishops dating from the turn of the 6th century. Although commonly attributed to St...

     (c. 500)
  • Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo
    Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo
    The Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo is a basilica church in Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna . It was erected by the Ostrogoth King Theodoric as his palace chapel, during the first quarter of the 6th century...

     (c. 500)
  • Mausoleum of Theodoric
    Mausoleum of Theodoric
    The Mausoleum of Theodoric is an ancient monument just outside Ravenna, Italy. It was built in 520 AD by Theodoric the Great as his future tomb.-Description:...

     (520)
  • Basilica of San Vitale
    Basilica of San Vitale
    The Church of San Vitale — styled an "ecclesiastical basilica" in the Roman Catholic Church, though it is not of architectural basilica form — is a church in Ravenna, Italy, one of the most important examples of early Christian Byzantine Art and architecture in western Europe...

     (548)
  • Basilica of Sant' Apollinare in Classe (549)


Other attractions include:
  • the ancient church of the Spirito Santo, which has maintained the original lines from the 5th century. It was originally an Arian temple. The façade has a noteworthy 16th century portico with 5 arcades.
  • The church of St. John the Evangelist
    San Giovanni Evangelista, Ravenna
    San Giovanni Evangelista is a church in Ravenna, Italy.It was built in the fifth century AD by the Roman imperial princess Galla Placidia.In the Middle Ages the Benedictines annexed to it an important monastery. In the 14th century both the church and the monastery were renovated in the Gothic...

     is also from the 5th century, erected by Galla Placidia
    Galla Placidia
    Aelia Galla Placidia , daughter of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, was the Regent for Emperor Valentinian III from 423 until his majority in 437, and a major force in Roman politics for most of her life...

     after a seastorm. It was restored after the World War II bombings.
  • The St. Francis basilica, rebuilt in the 10th–11th centuries over a precedent edifice dedicated to the Apostles and later to St. Peter. Behind the humble brick façade, it has a nave and two aisles. Fragments of mosaics from the primitive church are visible on the floor, which is usually covered by water after heavy rains (together with the crypt). Here the funeral ceremony of Dante Alighieri
    Dante Alighieri
    Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

     was held in 1321. The poet is buried in a tomb annexed to the church, the local authorities having resisted for centuries all demands by Florence for return of the remains of its most famous exile.
  • The Baroque
    Baroque
    The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

     church of Santa Maria Maggiore (525–532, rebuilt in 1671). It houses a picture by Luca Longhi
    Luca Longhi
    Luca Longhi was an Italian painter of the Mannerist period, born and active near Ravenna, where he mainly produced religious paintings and portraits....

    .
  • The church of San Giovanni Battista (1683), also in Baroque style, with a Middle Ages campanile.
  • The basilica of Santa Maria in Porto (16th century), with a rich façade from the 18th century. It has a nave and two aisles, with a high cupola. It houses the image of famous Greek Madonna, which was allegedly brought to Ravenna from Constantinople.
  • The nearby Communal Gallery has various works from Romagnoli painters.
  • The Rocca Brancaleone ("Brancaleone Castle"), built by the Venetians
    Republic of Venice
    The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

     in 1457. Once part of the city walls, it is now a public park. It is divided into two parts: the true Castle and the Citadel, the latter having an extent of 14000 m² (16,743.86 sq yd).
  • The so-called Palace of Theoderic, in fact the entrance to the former church of San Salvatore
    San Salvatore
    San Salvatore is the name of a number of places in Italy, including the communes of*San Salvatore di Fitalia, Province of Messina*San Salvatore Monferrato, Province of Alessandria*San Salvatore Telesino, Province of BeneventoAlso...

    . It includes mosaics from the true Palace of the Ostrogoth king.
  • The church of Santa Eufemia (18th century), gives access to the so-called Stone Carpets Domus (6th–7th century): this houses splendid mosaics from a Byzantine palace.
  • The National Museum.

Transport


Ravenna has an important commercial and tourist port
Port of Ravenna
The Port of Ravenna, is an Italian seaport on the North Adriatic Sea in Ravenna, ItalyThe coordinates for this canal port are 44° 29’ N and 12° 17’ Efor Marina di Ravenna sideWP2 44° 29’,58 N 12° 17’,48 EWP3 44° 29’,42 N 12° 17’,43 E...

.

By road, it can be reached through from the highway hub of Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

 or, from Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, with State Road 309 "Romea". From Rome the fastest connections is the E45 International Road; the other main connection to southern Italy is the State Street 16 "Adriatica".

Ravenna railway station
Ravenna railway station
Ravenna railway station serves the city and comune of Ravenna, in the region of Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy. Opened in 1863, it forms part of the Ferrara–Rimini railway, and is also a terminus of two secondary railways, linking Ravenna with Faenza and Castelbolognese, respectively.The station...

 has Trenitalia
Trenitalia
Trenitalia is the primary train operator in Italy. Trenitalia is owned by Ferrovie dello Stato, itself owned by the Italian Government. It was created in 2000 following the EU directive on the deregulation of rail transport.-Passenger transport:...

 connections to Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

, Ferrara
Ferrara
Ferrara is a city and comune in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy, capital city of the Province of Ferrara. It is situated 50 km north-northeast of Bologna, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po River, located 5 km north...

, Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, Verona
Verona
Verona ; German Bern, Dietrichsbern or Welschbern) is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

 and Rimini
Rimini
Rimini is a medium-sized city of 142,579 inhabitants in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, and capital city of the Province of Rimini. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, on the coast between the rivers Marecchia and Ausa...

.

The nearest airports are those of Forlì
Forlì Airport
Forlì Airport , also known as Luigi Ridolfi Airport , is an airport serving Forlì, a city in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. It is named for Italian aviator .-Facilities:The airport resides at an elevation of above mean sea level...

, Rimini and Bologna
Bologna Airport
-Charter services:-External links:* *...

.

In literature

  • Ravenna is the setting for Thomas Middleton
    Thomas Middleton
    Thomas Middleton was an English Jacobean playwright and poet. Middleton stands with John Fletcher and Ben Jonson as among the most successful and prolific of playwrights who wrote their best plays during the Jacobean period. He was one of the few Renaissance dramatists to achieve equal success in...

    's The Witch
    The Witch
    The Witch is a Jacobean play, a tragicomedy written by Thomas Middleton. The play was acted by the King's Men at the Blackfriars Theatre. It is thought to have been written sometime between 1609 and 1616; it was not printed in its own era, and existed only in manuscript until it was published by...

    .
  • Lord Byron lived in Ravenna between 1819 and 1821, led by the love for a local aristocratic and married young woman, Teresa Guiccioli
    Teresa, Contessa Guiccioli
    Teresa, Contessa Guiccioli was the mistress of Lord Byron whilst he was living in Ravenna, Italy, and writing the first five cantos of Don Juan. She wrote the biographical account Lord Byron's Life in Italy....

    . Here he continued the Don Juan
    Don Juan (Byron)
    Don Juan is a satiric poem by Lord Byron, based on the legend of Don Juan, which Byron reverses, portraying Juan not as a womanizer but as someone easily seduced by women. It is a variation on the epic form. Byron himself called it an "Epic Satire"...

    and wrote the Ravenna Diary, My Dictionary and Recollections.
  • Oscar Wilde
    Oscar Wilde
    Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

     wrote a poem entitled "Ravenna" in 1878.
  • Russian Symbolist poet Alexander Blok
    Alexander Blok
    Alexander Alexandrovich Blok was a Russian lyrical poet.-Life and career:Blok was born in Saint Petersburg, into a sophisticated and intellectual family. Some of his relatives were literary men, his father being a law professor in Warsaw, and his maternal grandfather the rector of Saint Petersburg...

     wrote a poem entitled Ravenna (May–June 1909) inspired by his Italian journey (spring 1909).
  • During his travels, German poet Hermann Hesse
    Hermann Hesse
    Hermann Hesse was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature...

     came across Ravenna and was inspired to write two poems of the city. They are entitled Ravenna (1) and Ravenna (2).
  • The City of Ravenna is mentioned in Canto V in Dante
    Dante Alighieri
    Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

    's Inferno.
  • T.S. Eliot's poem "Lune de Miel" (written in French) describes a honeymooning couple from Indiana sleeping not far from the ancient Basilica of Sant' Apollinare in Classe, (just outside Ravenna), famous for the carved capitals of its columns, which depict acanthus leaves buffeted by the wind, unlike the leaves in repose on similar columns elsewhere.

In film


Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI was an Italian modernist film director, screenwriter, editor and short story writer.- Personal life :...

 filmed his 1964 movie Red Desert  (Deserto Rosso) within the industrialised areas of the Pialassa valley within the city limits.

Sport


The beaches of Ravenna will host the 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup
2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup
The 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup was the sixth edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, governed by FIFA. Previous editions before 2005 were not governed by FIFA and were held under the title Beach Soccer World Championships. Overall this was the 16th edition of the World Cup since its...

, in September 2011.

Twin towns — Sister cities


Ravenna is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with: Chichester
Chichester
Chichester is a cathedral city in West Sussex, within the historic County of Sussex, South-East England. It has a long history as a settlement; its Roman past and its subsequent importance in Anglo-Saxon times are only its beginnings...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea coast, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its total population is 42,641...

, Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, since 1969 Speyer
Speyer
Speyer is a city of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany with approximately 50,000 inhabitants. Located beside the river Rhine, Speyer is 25 km south of Ludwigshafen and Mannheim. Founded by the Romans, it is one of Germany's oldest cities...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, since 1989 Chartres
Chartres
Chartres is a commune and capital of the Eure-et-Loir department in northern France. It is located southwest of Paris.-Geography:Chartres is built on the left bank of the Eure River, on a hill crowned by its famous cathedral, the spires of which are a landmark in the surrounding country...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, since 1957 Tønsberg
Tønsberg
is a city and municipality in Vestfold county, southern Norway, located around north-east of Sandefjord. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Tønsberg....

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 Szekszárd
Szekszárd
Szekszárd is a city in Hungary and the capital of Tolna county. By population, Szekszárd is the smallest county capital in Hungary; by area, it is the second smallest -Location:...

, Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 Laguna
Laguna, Santa Catarina
Laguna is a Brazilian city located in the southern state of Santa Catarina, 120 kilometers south of the state's capital, Florianópolis, and north east of Porto Alegre. Its coordinates are 28.48/28°28'57" S and the longitude is 48.779/48°46'51" W. In 2004, the population was 48,956 and the area was...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...


External links


  • Tourism and culture Official website
  • Ravenna, A Study (1913) by Edward Hutton
    Edward Hutton (writer)
    Edward Hutton was a British author of travel books and various Italian subjects.-Life and Work:Edward Hutton was born on April 12, 1875 in Hampstead, London, his father being a businessman with interests in Sheffield...

    , from Project Gutenberg
    Project Gutenberg
    Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works, to "encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks". Founded in 1971 by Michael S. Hart, it is the oldest digital library. Most of the items in its collection are the full texts of public domain books...

  • Catholic Encyclopedia: Ravenna's early history and its monuments
  • Adrian Fletcher's Paradoxplace Ravenna Pages (photos)