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A Virtual Trip – Ravenna Posted by on Jul 23, 2020 in Culture

Un Viaggio Virtuale – Ravenna

Ciao ai miei cari lettori! 

Considering the current ban on travel to Europe for American residents (anyone else have canceled summer plans?) I thought we could partake in un viaggio virtuale, insieme! Andiamo a Ravenna! 

Ravenna, located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy, is considered an inland city yet is connected to the Adriatic Sea by the Candiano Canal. Ravenna is also the second largest city in Italy, after Rome. (By area, not population!)

I first visited Ravenna in the summer of 2018, and I was taken aback by the architecture and well-preserved mosaics from the late Roman and Byzantine era. There are actually eight buildings that are located on the UNESCO world heritage list called “Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna.” It really is well worth a visit, the detailed mosaic work is unlike anything I have ever seen before. Unfortunately, pictures do not do it justice, but here are some I took:

For some Italian listening practice as well as a better look at the Mosaic work in the Mausoleo di Galla Placidia, which is one of the eight UNESCO sites in Ravenna, ecco un video da YouTube:

Ravenna also houses the tomb of Dante Alighieri, who died in Ravenna in 1321.

Dante, if you do not know, was a famous writer and politician who was born in Florence in 1265. He wrote “La Divina Commedia” a long narrative poem about Dante’s travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, in his native Florentine dialect, as opposed to Latin. This had a direct effect on establishing it as standard Italian, accepted throughout Italy as the language of culture and prestige.

Dante and his poem – Domenico di Michelino in the Duomo of Florence, 1465.

Dante and Virgil in Hell – William Bouguereau, 1850. Picture taken by me at the Musée D’Orsay, 2016.

Dante was actually accused of political corruption while in office in Florence, and subsequently exiled for two years and fined. He sought refuge in Ravenna, but refused to pay the fine citing his innocence, thus leading to his permanent exile from Florence and even a death sentence imposed on him if he were to have returned. Despite this, after his death and burial in Ravenna, Florence requested and continues to request that his remains be transported to their city to be re-buried, but Ravenna refuses. The municipality of Florence even officially apologized in 2008 for Dante’s exile 700 years earlier.

I think my smile effectively communicates just how excited I am to see the tomb of the father of the Italian language.

Avete mai visitato Ravenna? Have you ever visited Ravenna? If not, I hope you do now as soon as we are all able to travel to Europe again. It truly is a city to be seen and admired.

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About the Author: Bridgette

Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. Digital nomad. Gaelophile. Creator of A Polyglot's Inkblot:


  1. Valeri:

    Ho visitato! I LOVED Ravenna and we were so excited to see Dante’s tomb and the mosaics. We were there in 2012. I took so many photos. You are right. It’s definitely worth a trip. Thank you for taking me back.

  2. Candace Sheehan:

    Mi piace molto Ravenna. Dopo aver lasciato Montefalco e trasferito negli Stati Uniti, siamo tornati a visitare la famiglia e gli amici in Umbria e poi siamo andati a Ravenna e in quella regione. Abbiamo ADORATO Ravenna e siamo rimasti a vedere tutto ciò che potevamo. Grazie per le tue meravigliose lezioni – ho imparato tanto da te e mi fa imparare e mantenere il mio italiano … tanto cattivo quanto è diventato … vivo per me. Per favore, stai al sicuro.

  3. Stu Reininger:

    Grazie Mille per i ricordi. Ho visitato Ravenna pochi anni fa e per me la piu’ meravioglioso parte di la mia visita era la tomba di Dante. Da quando, non vedo l’ora a ritornare… 🙂

  4. Owen Tabor:

    “Ravenna is also the second largest city in Italy, after Rome”. Are you sure?

    • Bridgette:

      @Owen Tabor I should have been more clear with that statement, I’ll edit it. Ravenna is the second largest city by area, not population. Rome – 496 square miles, Ravenna – 252 square miles.

  5. Diane C.:

    Ravenna é una città a cui ritorno sempre. La città ha un posto speciale nel mio cuore. Grazie Bridgette per il viaggio virtuale.

  6. Carlo Romani:

    Enjoyed immensely the travel log on Ravenna. A must “to do” on next trip. Ciao

  7. Rachel Crawford:

    Thank you for posting this, Bridgette! I have not yet been to Ravenna and this makes me want to plan a trip there.

  8. Maurits Bredveld:

    Hallo, thank you for your nice posts! One small question: Ravenna is the second largest city of Italy?
    Keep up the nice posts.
    Ciao, Maurits

  9. Bogna:

    Grazie Brigitte, per aver ricordato Dante a Ravenna. Il prossimo anno saranno 700 anni dalla sua morte in quella città. Forse vale la pena ricordare che ora Firenze sta fornendo olio alla lampada che brucia perpetuamente sulla tomba di Dante. Ecco un link alla consegna cerimoniale, con bandiere di giglio rosso, il simbolo stesso di Firenze. Calorosi auguri a te!

  10. Ralph Haskell:

    As a young Lieutenant, my fondest memories of Ravenna from 50+ years ago are the beaches. Sadly, I missed the antiquities.

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