A walk of about two hours in the historic center of Ravenna (the itinerary is not very demanding but it takes in the whole city). We will visit: the Arian Baptistery, the picturesque Dante area, Piazza del Popolo, the church of San Francesco characterized by the crypt with a mosaic floor and filled with brackish water from the tenth century.
For those who want to, the visit can continue with the splendid Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe (the only one with an entrance fee) and / or the Mausoleum of Theodorico, king of the Goths. (duration about 3 hours)
We will leave from the Baptistery of the Aryans commissioned by King Theodoric of the Ostrogoths in the late fifth century. The mosaic of the dome depicts the typical scene of all Baptists : Baptism of Christ in the Jordan River. The whole mosaic decoration confirms the cult of Theodorico’s court based on the figure of Christ both divine and earthly at the same time.
Continuing along the via A. Diaz we come to the Dante zone, “silent guardian”, of a great past and old memories as evidenced by the tomb of the great Florentine poet, the Dante museum and the beautiful Franciscan cloisters with the statues of St. Clare and St. Francis.
It is important to know that in the same church in 1321 the funeral of the great Florentine poet took place. He lived in Ravenna for the last three years of his troubled life, much of the city’s history and scenery is repeatedly mentioned in his great work.
The walk can continue with a visit to one of many mosaic workshops scattered around in the city to learn all the secrets of this fascinating technique.
But first we will stop in Piazza del Popolo, the square with the statues of St. Apollinaris and San Vitale erected during the Venetian rule, first taking a look at the beautiful Corinthian capitals, “with acanthus leaves blowing in the wind”, of the Venetian Palace.
And for those who are not yet satisfied you can go to Classe, 5 km from Ravenna, the ancient seat of the ancient Roman port founded by Caesar Augustus in the first century. B.C., to visit the beautiful Basilica-Sanctuary of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, site of one of Ravenna’s most famous churches. Erected in honor of St. Apollinaris, the first bishop and martyr of the city, it houses the relics of the saint. It is recognizable from a distance thanks to its beautiful cylindrical bell tower ( first half of the sixth century.). Inside the rich mosaic decoration is dedicated to the patron saint of the city of Ravenna.
Not far from Sant’Apollinare in Classe extends the Pinewood of Classe and San Vitale, integral parts of the Po Delta Regional Park.
Returning to Classe it is possible to do also an external tour of the mausoleum of King Theodorico of the Goths which is located in the old cemetery of the Goths also called Coriander Field. The mausoleum dates back to 526 when Theodoric was still alive and had it built for his burial. You will be fascinated by the majestic dome consisting of a single monolith to which several historians have given different interpretations: a soldier’s helmet or a king’s crown. What do you think?
INFORMATION ABOUT THE GUIDED TOUR
Entrance to Basilica of Sant’Apollinare (not included in cost of guided tour): 6,50 euros; reduced 4 euros (18-26 years); 1.50 euro for owners of Romagna Visit Card
Free admission for children up to 18 years.