“Lord Byron, who preferred Ravenna to all the other towns of Italy, and was influenced in some measure by his intimacy with the Countess Guiccioli, a member of the Gamba family of Ravenna, spent two years here (June, 1819, to October, 1821).”
— from‘ Italy: Northern Italy’ 1903, by Karl Baedeker
Piazza del Popolo can be considered the focal point of Ravenna. The main attractions in the square include the beautiful 15th century Palazzo Communale, the Town Hall, built in the typical Venetian style. Directly in front of it there are two 1483 granite columns, which are reminders of Ravenna’s Venetian past. These elegant and majestic columns are topped by likenesses of Sant Appolinaire, patron saint of the city, and San Vitale. Fragments from a church, St. Andrew of the Goths founded by Emperor Theodora, decorate the top of the columns. During the 15th century the Venetians destroyed this church to make way for a fortress.
The square is a meeting place for Ravenna’s citizens, who gather to solve Italy’s problems. Many cafes, bars and shops border the square. Many of these lively establishments offer a local favorite, Piadine, a typical Ravenna style sandwich. The streets in and around this piazza are for pedestrian use only and it is a splendid place to spend time relaxing and that free and worthwhile pastime, people watching.
Piazza del Popolo also serves as a venue for some performances at the annual Ravenna Festival, which offers opera, concerts, dances, jazz, ethnic music, drama and cinema.
“He drives his tractor back and forth between house and field, hauling hay and firewood. His
routine never changes and his siesta is spent resting against his barn with a bottle of red wine, enjoying his beloved piece of Emilia-Romagna.”
— from “In Love with Emilia: An Italian Odyssey” 2004 by Virginia Gabriella Ferrari
On the grounds of Ravenna’s Basilica di San Vitale, master mosaicist and Ravenna native, Marco Bravura used gold smalti scraps to create Roto B. Signore Bravura’s goal with this work was to remind the public about the importance of recycling and that it can be an art form.
I was delighted to see this work of art because it interpreted, in a local, artist way, a country staple: hay. Throughout Emilia-Romagna and Le Marche was endless fields of hay, rolls of hay, bales of hay. This agricultural staple and widespread cultivation fascinates me.
“To this wonderful page in our country's history another more glorious still will be added, and the slave shall show at last to his free brothers a sharpened sword forged from the links of his fetters.”
— Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882)
Cesare Zocchi won an 1860 competition to honor the soldiers who had given their lives for Italian independence, as well as the death of Anita Garibaldi, which took place at Guiccioli's farm, north of Ravenna. The monument was unveiled on 10.September.1888.
Zocchi, a Florentine sculptor, highlights more the first subject. The main figure is the personification of Ravenna in its most celebrated era, the Middle Ages. Dressed in Medieval clothing and with long braided hair, this Rubenesque young woman extends a laurel wreath to a fallen soldier (see photo #3).
The four lions (see photos #4 and #5) at each corner of the base symbolize the crucial years of the Risorgimento struggles: 1831, 1848, 1859, 1870.
Anita Garibaldi is remembered at the base with two bronze plaques: the first plaque shows her death near Ravenna on 4.August.1848, and the second shows her on a horse fording the River Canavas in the same pose as Mario Rutelli’s equestrian bronze that can be seen at Piazzale Anita Garibaldi on Rome’s Janiculum Hill.
Porta Adriana gives out on to the piazza which links Via Cavour with Via Maggiore. In Ancient times it opened on to the Montone River over which there was a bridge that was then demolished in 1774. Although the date of its construction still remains approximate, it was certainly built before the year 1000. The name Adriana comes from an ancient patrician family of Ravenna, the Andriani, or perhaps from the fact that a road leading to Adria began there. It also was known by the name of Porta Giustiniana, after the Venetian Podestà Giustiniani, who ruled Ravenna and authorized the restoration of the gate at the beginning of the 16th century. In 1545 the gate was moved a little to the left, but a few decades later it was rebuilt in its original position. It was on that occasion that it got decorated with some marbles coming from the destroyed Port’Aurea. In Ancient Ravenna the façade was made up of only two central columns which had two Venetian lions carved on their bases. The lions were mutilated (see photo #4) at the end of the 18th century.
The back of the gate was built at the beginning of the 17th century and it was restored several times. The sides of the gate still present two square bastions, which were erected in the 18th century to replace the two original towers of protection. The two pedestrian passages, opened on the sides for practical reasons, are a recent addition. In the year 1857, for the visit of Pope Pius IX to Ravenna, the gate underwent further restorations and two more columns having two pines (see photo #3) carved on their bases were added. The four columns are still surmounted by as many spires.
This imposing, but not particularly attractive structure was once la Chiesa di San Domenico. It dates from the 13th century, when the Dominican order arrived in the city and built it along with an adjacent monastery. In the 17th century, the church was heavily remodelled into a baroque design by the architect Giambattista Contini. The façade however was never finished. The suppression of the Dominican order resulted in the de-consecration of the church which was stripped of all of its artwork and it remained empty until it was converted into an exhibition hall and cultural centre known as the Urban Center. Check their website for events.
To understand what you see in Ravenna, it is important to know how much of what you see historically came to pass. This is Theodoric's story.
Born in Pannonia, in what is now Hungary, in 454 AD to Amalo, king of the Ostrogoths, he was given as a hostage when he was aged only eight to the emperor of Constantine in order to secure a peace treaty. He remained for 10 years in this cultured and illuminating court and was treated as a prince.
Here he became interested in military strategy, economics and the politics of the Byzantines.
When Theudimir asked for his son back, his wish was granted because illiterate boy was perceived as "too clumsy and timid" to ever be a threat and his father thought he would be "soft" from his years in the palace.
How much in error they both were was shown when he organized a war against the Sarmatae while his father was absent fighting the Suevi. He captured what is now Belgrade and broke every agreement with the Byzantines by refusing to hand it over to them.
Two years later his father died and he assumed the Ostrogoth throne, just as Zeno took over Constantinople.
He sided with Zeno in his conflict against Basiliscus and the Ostrogoth Strabo and gained important terrotorial concessions. He then saved him from the army leaders Leontius and Hyllus and received honours, a triumphal march and an equestrian statue erected in the city.
His relationship with Zeno was wearing thin and when the idea of a "personal" kingdom came up which entailed Theodoric ruling from Ravenna.
Palio starts at 07
Palio starts at 07.00 PM. It stars with the competition of the horseman of the district that arrived at the last place in the Palio of the last year and 4 horsemen of the other districts.
They have to beat the target with the point of the arms
that they have. The target is 195 cm from the ground and it is round (8 cm).
The first who beat the target is the winner.
Every time the first that beat the target win a shield of the other districts (a piece of tissues decorated with the simbols of the district).
The one who has more shield is the final winner. He wins a golden tower.
The second wins a pork.
The last receive a key to close the stadium, ha ha ha!!!!
For the tradition, there is an historic procession that remember military civil and social life of 1400, that starts from Piazza del Popolo at 04
For the tradition, there is an historic procession that remember military civil and social life of 1400, that starts from Piazza del Popolo at 04.00 PM and arrive at the Stadium.
The Niballo Palio of Faenza is on the 4th Sunday of June
The Niballo Palio of Faenza is on the 4th Sunday of June.