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Ravenna: The most beautiful sights & tips for the mosaic city

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WOW! The mighty mosaics of Ravenna amaze at once. We would never have guessed what art treasures the small town of Ravenna in the east of the Italian province of Emilia-Romagna houses.

Ravenna’s mosaics are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. And when you stand in front of them, it quickly becomes clear why. Precious stones and gold leaf sparkle here. The sometimes extraordinarily well-preserved depictions are incredibly impressive, even for art lovers like us.

In this blog article, we present the most important sights in Ravenna for a day trip (or a longer stay). As always, there are our very personal tips for your trip.

1 . Ravenna: First travel tips for the city of mosaics at a glance What makes Ravenna so unique? Ravenna is, so to speak, the Mosaic capital of the world. It is not for nothing that Ravenna’s mosaics from Byzantine and early Christian times are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A total of eight monuments of Ravenna (and their mosaics) belong to the ensemble of world cultural heritage.

The density of art treasures is impressive – as well as how well preserved many of the mosaics are. Here we think above all of the mosaics in the gigantic Basilica di San Vitale and in the adjoining mausoleum of Galla Placidia. Both are true masterpieces of architecture!

Quite apart from the art-historical aspect of Ravenna, we also really liked the living flair of the city. With such a wealth of cultural history, one would expect a thoroughly touristic center. But the opposite is the case.

How much time do I need for the most beautiful sights in Ravenna? Many tourists visit Ravenna as part of a day trip – for example from Bologna or Rimini. Because Ravenna is quite compact, the main attractions can easily be explored in a few hours.

There is a combination ticket for five of Ravenna’s most important monuments (more information on this shortly). They offer themselves perfectly as a program for a day trip in Ravenna. All around you can also visit one or the other additional sights. Worth seeing is the main square called Piazza del Popolo.

Of course, traveling is more comfortable if you have more time in your luggage. In this respect, nothing speaks against spending one or two nights in Ravenna. For example, you can take a road trip through Emilia-Romagna.

Combo Ticket for Main Sights & Mosaics Good to know: There is a combination ticket for five of the most important sights and mosaics in Ravenna. More specifically, the combination ticket is valid for three attractions (10,50 Euro). With a surcharge of two euros (so a total of 10,50 Euro) you get access to all five sights. And we would really recommend that to you.


Basilica di San VitaleMausoleum of Galla Placidia Basilica di Sant’Apollinare NuovoBattistero NeonianoMuseo Arcivescovile e Cappella di Sant’Andrea You can buy your combination ticket directly near the sights. (Alternatively, it is also possible to book the ticket online in advance – see link below.)

You can find more information about prices and opening hours here: Ravenna Mosaics (official website)

2. The most beautiful sights & mosaics in Ravenna Basilica di San Vitale Let’s start with one of the most important sights in Ravenna, the gigantic Basilica di San vitals. The late antique-early Byzantine church is impressive from the outside. However, your real treasure is hidden inside.

Once you have entered, you will never be able to stop being amazed. The mighty interior of the church is decorated with the most artistic mosaics and frescoes.

The mosaics in the sanctuary are particularly famous, the splendid colors of which are extraordinarily well preserved. Among other things, scenes from the Old Testament are shown. The portraits of Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora are also important.

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia In the same area as the Basilica di San Vitale is the next top attraction Ravenna: The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. The Byzantine building was built as a tomb for Empress Galla Placidia in the 5th century. However, she was probably never buried here.

The magnificent, deep blue starry sky sparkles from the vaulted ceiling. The depictions of stars are among the most beautiful of late antiquity. Incidentally, the mosaics are a little older than those of the basilica and are therefore considered to be the oldest in Ravenna.

Important tip: The mausoleum of Galla Placidia is not part of the standard combination ticket. The surcharge of two euros (also applies to the Battistero Neoniano) is definitely worth it! Because the mausoleum is so small and only a few people can fit in at the same time, you have to choose a timeslot when buying your ticket.

Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo The The third mosaic highlight is the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo. It is located to the east of the historic center of Ravenna. It can be reached from San Vitale after a leisurely 10-minute walk. (It is best to choose the route via Via Cavour and the main square, the Piazza del Popolo.)

The Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo is enormous in its dimensions. Once inside, a gigantic church interior awaits you. The highlight here are again the mosaics. Once the entire interior was decorated, today only the mosaics in the central nave have survived.

Battistero Neoniano (Neon Baptistery) Small, but mighty is the Battistero Neoniano. It belongs to the cathedral and is considered the oldest surviving building in Ravenna – at least in terms of when construction began.

The wall and ceiling mosaics in the interior are gigantic. They are among the most beautiful in Ravenna. In the center of the baptistery is also the octagonal baptismal font made of Greek marble and purple stone. Its oldest parts come from the 13. Century.

Important tip: Like the mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Battistero Neoniano is not part of the standard combined ticket. Here, too, you have to select a timeslot when purchasing the ticket due to the limited space available.

Museo Arcivescovile e Cappella di Sant’Andrea The fifth and last attraction of the combined ticket is the Archbishop’s Museum, which also houses the Archbishop’s Chapel. Of all the highlights, this one appealed to us the least. Maybe it was because at the end we were a bit “oversaturated” with the many impressions.

The museum is quite extensive. If you study everything carefully you can easily spend an hour here. In our opinion, the highlight is clearly the chapel (Cappella di Sant’Andrea). It’s a bit hidden and smaller than expected, but the mosaics are fantastic.

Piazza del Popolo ) Ravenna’s main square is also worth a visit. The Piazza del Popolo is, so to speak, the heart of Ravenna’s old town. It may not be the most spectacular of all the main squares in Italy, but it is still pretty to look at.

The square is lined with numerous palaces. The Venetian clock tower is particularly eye-catching. In the cafés and bars on the edge of the piazza, people meet up for a coffee or an Aperol Spritz on sunny days.

Tomb of Dante Alighieri A stone’s throw from Piazza del Popolo is the tomb of the famous Italian poet and philosopher Dante Alighieri. At first glance, the tomb looks quite inconspicuous. However, you recognize it immediately by the crowd of people who gather in front of it.

Adjacent to the tomb is the Dante Museum. It’s fine more of interest to literary connoisseurs. The museum is housed in a Franciscan monastery with a really pretty cloister. A look into the inner courtyard is worthwhile.

3. Culinary tips for Ravenna In this chapter we provide you with some culinary recommendations for Ravenna. Are you still looking for a cozy Tratoria or a place for a quick lunch? Then you will find our tips here.

Grinder Coffee Lab: Quite a hip café not far from the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo. A good place for a quick snack and great coffee.Serafina: A bright, modern restaurant with lots of wood in the center of Ravenna. At lunchtime, different dishes are offered in the form of a buffet, from which you can have a plate put together.Mercato Coperto: Anyone who wants to take a culinary souvenir home is in good hands in this great market hall. The Mercato also includes a spacious, very stylish restaurant. Antica Trattoria Al Gallo : Hugely popular, upscale and im Art Nouveau furnished trattoria near the Basilica di San Vitale. Mercato Coperto Serafina 4. Accommodation in Ravenna Are you still looking for accommodation for your time in Ravenna ? Then we can warmly recommend the M Club De Luxe B&B. A wonderful, personally managed Bed and Breakfast awaits you here in the best location of Ravenna.

The accommodation is in a renovated patrician house, just around the corner from the famous Basilica San Vitale. All of Ravenna’s other major sights are also just a stone’s throw away.

The entire house is very tastefully furnished and has an eye for detail. The parking lot in the inner courtyard of the accommodation is also very practical.

You can book accommodation here: M Club De Luxe B&B

5. More tips: Arrival & parking Arrival: Where is Ravenna & how do I get there? Ravenna is located in northern Italy, more precisely in the East of the Emilia-Romagna region. Once upon a time, Ravenna even lay on the sea. Today, however, the Adriatic coast is about nine kilometers away due to silting up.

Ravenna is an ideal stop on a road trip through Italy. The journey time from Vienna is around 8 hours. From Munich it is 6.5 hours. Many also visit Ravenna as part of a day trip, for example from Rimini or Bologna (each approx. 1 hour).

Ravenna does not have an airport. It is usual to arrive by car or rental car (e.g. from Bologna Airport). Here you can search for cheap rental cars: Sunny Cars.

Parking in Ravenna On the outskirts of the old town of Ravenna there are several public car parks. We ourselves have parked our car at the parking lot “Parcheggio San Vitale” , which we can highly recommend.

The price for one day is only three euros. Another plus point: From the car park you can reach the old town in a few minutes and you are right in front of the Basilica di San Vitale. It doesn’t get any better than that.

6. Map: All sights in Ravenna at a glance For better orientation you can find in this map all important sights and highlights in Ravenna at a glance. Our tip: Simply click on the rectangle in the top right corner to open the map in the Google Maps app on your smartphone. This way you can navigate comfortably from A to B on site in Bologna.

Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!

Have you ever been to Ravenna? Were you also so enthusiastic about the sights and mosaics of the city? We look forward to hearing about your experiences below this blog article.