What to see in Ravenna
Ravenna is well developed for tourist, but that doesn’t mean that it is crowded or very touristy. Compared to other italian cities, it is still “off the beaten path”. Nevertheless, it is very easy to get around in the old town and find different sights. For easier orientation, you can download a map of the old town showing the position of the most interesting places.
Most places in Ravenna take an entry fee. However, there is a combination ticket which can be used for most of the sites labelled as “UNESCO World Heritage Site”.
Neonian (or orthodox) Baptistry
The Neonian Bapistery (Battistero Neoniano, also known as the Battistero Ortodosso or Orthodox Baptistery) is an octagonal baptistery built in the 5th century. It is the oldest monument in Ravenna and contains some of the city's most beautiful Byzantine mosaics.
The Battistero Neoniano was built as part of Ravenna's orthodox (non-Arian) cathedral, which was built in the early 5th century but no longer stands in its original form. The baptistery was converted from an old Roman bath-house, beginning under Bishop Ursus around 400 AD.
The building was finished by Bishop Neone (451-75) in the second half of the 5th century, during which the mosaics were added to the dome. It is from this bishop that the Battistero Neoniano gets its name.
The octagonal baptistery is constructed of brick and topped with a dome made of hollow tubes to save weight. The building looks like it has sunk below ground, but actually the street level has risen almost 10 feet since it was built. Beside the baptistery is the round Romanesque campanile of the cathedral, dating from the 10th century.
In the center of the baptistery's cupola is a magnificent mosaic laid out in concentric circles like a great wheel. The central medallion depicts the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. The right arm of John the Baptist, the dove, and Christ's head are all 18th century restorations. The dish that St. John is using to pour the water was added in the 19th century by a Roman artisan named Felice Kibel, who was charged with restoring the mosaics and went overboard with creative license.
But the majority of the magnificent dome mosaic remains remarkably intact in its original form, given its venerable age. The lower right of the central baptism scene is a personification of the Jordan River as an old man rising from the water, holding a reed in one hand and offering a garment to Christ in the other.
This scene is surrounded by a large inner ring with the Twelve Apostles, who carry crowns in veiled hands and walk slowly in procession. The men, each identified by name in the mosaic, are depicted in deep blues and sparkling golds. (pic 2)
The outer ring of the mosaic is divided into eight sections, with alternating empty thrones, representing the divinity of Christ, and altars with open Gospel books. The thrones are flanked by depictions of the celestial gardens, while the altars are flanked by empty chairs to represent the place reserved in heaven for the Elect.
For comparison, be sure to visit Ravenna's Arian Baptistery, which also has a baptism scene in its dome. The arches supporting the dome are decorated with mosaics of golden acanthus leaves on blue and red backgrounds and stucco reliefs of prophets and biblical scenes, which date from the same period as the dome mosaics (451-75).
In the wall spandrels below are gold vines and prophets on a deep blue background. The arches over the niches have gold mosaic inscriptions on a blue background with red borders, decorated with abstract designs. The underside of the arches have crosses and trees on golden backgrounds.
The inlaid marble designs on the walls, including porphyry disks and green marble rectangles, are preserved from the ancient Roman baths. A Byzantine altar and a Roman marble vase can be seen in the side niches. The large octagonal baptismal font dates from the 12th or 13th century.
Never on a Monday
Not just inRavenna...many (perhaps most) Italian museums are closed on Mondays. This can be a spirit-killer if you're only in a city or town for a single day and the museums are unavailable, which is why the Spirit moves me to suggest that much of Italy's great art is found in its churches, virtually all of which are open every day of the week (and are generally free, to boot). So enjoy the splendid mosaics in the local duomo, and soak in the notion that people have been hallowing with their prayers the place where they are situated for many hundreds of years.
Mirabilandia - amusement park, fun4everyone
Mirabilandia is a huge amusement park with many attractions in Ravenna, from the city center it's about 15 minutes by car, there are also buses going there and back. it's a very fun place to spend all the day, to remember childhood and to have loads of emotions. Attractions are not only for kids, inside the park there are many restaurants, canteens, so you can have a snack, in the evening a show is organized and the fountain plays with colours. Usually there's a promotion in summer, when you pay entrance for one day, next day you can enter 4 free. Believe me, one day is not enough, you can be there from the morning till the evening and you'll never get bored.
you pay entrance once, you can use all the attractions and amusements inside the park as many times as you wish!
another park like this you can find only in the North of Italy (Gardaland)
Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Part II
Galla Placidia was briefly married to Ataulf, a Visigoth king (414-16) and the co-emperor of Rome, Constantius III (417-21). For 12 years (AD 425-AD 437) Galla Placidia was a powerful empress, ruling the western world as regent for her young son Valentinian III.
With a floor plan matching a Greek cross, measuring 40 feet by 30 feet, the small brick chapel has blind arches on its walls and a square tower at the intersection. The building has dropped 4.5 feet into the ground over the centuries.