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Posted by ToursItaly on April 22, 2015
With so many wonderful cities to see on different Italy Tours and Italy Vacation Packages narrowing your choices for which places to include on your trip itinerary can be a puzzle. If you long to venture somewhere a little different from the regular Italy vacation packages, adding a day trip from Venice to Ravenna is a wonderful excursion.
Here are our top five reasons to book Ravenna tours with Avventure Bellissime:
This well preserved historic city was once the capital of Italy. Well, it was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire for more than 200 years when the emperor Honorius, fearing invading Barbarians, moved his rule from Rome to Ravenna. When the barbarian Odoacer ruled from 476-493 it was his choice for capital city as well. After Ostrogothic king Theuderic conquered the barbarians he also decided Ravenna, a port city, was still the best spot for the capital of his kingdom. The next ruler to see the value of Ravenna was the Byzantine emperor Justinian, who in 540 AD claimed the beautiful city as the westernmost pillar of his empire. As you can guess, Ravenna is steeped in history evident in the architecture, artwork, and early Christian monuments.
The Byzantine Empire that thrived here was fascinating. The Byzantines, who had their roots in the Eastern Roman Empire, was heavily influenced by Greek culture by the time Heraclius was emperor in 610. Learn the exciting stories of the time between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance here were those living in what is now Ravenna enjoyed fine art, craftsmanship, and education while the cities elsewhere in Italy were falling into the darkness of the Middle Ages.
Enjoy dazzling Byzantine mosaics. Ravenna is a treasure trove of well-preserved ancient mosaics created from a rich palette that includes gold, sapphire, and emerald. Our amazing Avventure Bellissime licensed Italy tour guides will help you learn to decipher these stunning mosaics and explain what life was like here during the golden age. These mosaics are considered so important internationally that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) declared them a World Heritage Site.
Visit Dante’s tomb. The famous Italian poet Dante, author of the Divine Comedy, was born in Florence but died in Ravenna in 1321. His epic poem about the afterlife is considered a masterpiece of world literature and he is known in Italy as il Sommo Poeta (the supreme poet). Unfortunately during the tumultuous political climate of his day Dante lived his final years in Ravenna, away from his beloved Florence, in exile. During the Second World War residents here hid the poet’s remains so they would not be damaged.
Once a bustling port, access to the Adriatic Sea is now by canal. Time has changed the landscape from ancient times but Ravenna has always been considered a beautiful destination. Poet Lord Byron lived here from 1819 to 1821, during which time he wrote a diary, and writers Oscar Wilde, Alexander Blok, and T.S. Eliot all wrote about Ravenna in their poetry. There are eight early Christian monuments in the city that are on the UNESCO World Heritage list, including the Basilica of San Vitale with its incredible collection of early Christian Byzantine art. Add to this amazing Ravenna eateries to try and shops to explore and a day spent here will be a memorable part of any Italy tour.
If you would like to focus on learning about Ravenna’s spectacular Byzantine mosaics, our Private Venice Ravenna Mosaics Day Tour is a full 9-hour day of exploring the churches and mausoleums and an archaeological site recently uncovered.
Our three-hour Private Ravenna Walk is a less intensive tour of these impressive mosaics and monuments and convenient for anyone visiting Florence, Bologna, or Venice. After visiting all the major sites with a local expert guide you will know how to decipher the meaning of this historic artwork. This tour includes a visit to the main city square, Piazza del Popolo and the Tomb of Dante.
Please note that both of these tours need to be modified for people who use wheelchairs or have difficulty walking. Contact us directly if this is the case and we will arrange a special tour that will be accessible.