Updated: Jan 20
Today, Ravenna is most known for its remarkable mosaics. The city was the capital of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until it collapsed in 476. The remarkable amount of work and detail put into such sites as the octagonal Basilica de San Vitale, Basilica de Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, and the Mausoleo di Galla Placidia can't be missed for art history buffs and historians interested in the Byzantine era. The city has a whopping eight world heritage sites.
We purchased our tickets at the Basilica de Sant'Apollinare Nuovo for € 9.50 which includes entry to 5 monuments, with the Mausoleum of Galla Placida requiring a € 2.00 fee during high season. Details about ticket offices, hours, and prices can be found here.
What to Eat
There were a number of Michelin Guide restaurants in Ravenna but to my dismay the ones that interested me were closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
I wanted to try Cappelletti as the region is known for it, and that's when I found Al Rustichello. The meal was bursting with flavour matched with an all Italian clientele and lively atmosphere – like being part of a big family dinner. You can read more about my meal on Yelp. The restaurant was packed by 8pm, so I would recommend reservations over the phone.
While wandering the pedestrian only shop lined streets, we stopped at Alice Pizza on Via IV Novembre for a quick by the slice option. It surprised my expectations and was exceedingly delicious. Very crispy medium thick crust with just the right amount of very fresh topping due to the high turnover here.
We also stopped by Il Forno Argnani for delicious artisanal sweets. In this bakery piles of freshly made meringue, almond cookies, pistachio cookies, fruit tarts, cheesecakes, and more are available each day for purchase and you can buy a box to take home or just a few to enjoy inside at their tables.
When to Eat
Unlike many other part of Italy, dinner time was observed earlier in Ravenna, with peak dining time around 8pm-9:30pm. This added to the relax and charm of the town.
There are many shops in the Centro Storico especially near Via Camillo Benso Cavour. You can find chains like Zara, Stradivarius, and Kiko Cosmetics, and well as countless unique shops carrying Italian designers. Ravenna is certainly somewhere where you can pick up something special for your wardrobe.
Where to Stay
I would recommend staying near the Centro Storico. Almost all of the world heritage sites are walking distance between each other. Ravenna is somewhere where you would not need a car to get around, as much of the Centro Storico is pedestrian and bicycle only. The town also felt very safe to walk at any time of the day. We were very comfortable on feet, and did not need taxis during our visit. If visiting during summertime, the beach however is a drive or bus ride away, making a car more efficient to get there.
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