Ravenna: so much beauty in a samll place! I’d define it a little coffer, quite like a dollhouse thanks to its family and intimate atmosphere , where however are concentrated a lot of attractions and places to visit. I’ll begin giving you some practical info to help you to organize your itinerary better.
RAVENNA: HOW MUCH TIME YOU NEED TO VISIT IT
I always say this is something subjective, but I can say that in two days we visited everything, except for a pair of things but for our choice. What makes the visit to the town so quick?
- the most attractions are very close to each other (the longest path we’ve done on foot was 1,5 km), so that you can see many things in a brief time;
- visits inside the museums don’t take a very long time;
- all path is completely flat with no hard roads.
RAVENNA: MUSEUMS – ATTRACTIONS – MONUMENTS
There are two kind of combined tickets:
- Biglietto Unico Monumenti Diocesani that includes all most important monuments in the centre town where the main characters are the mosaics – Euro 9,50 per person (prices 2018):
✔Basilica di San Vitale
✔Mausoleo di Galla Placidia
✔Cappella S. Andrea
✔S. Apollinare Nuovo
We bought this kind of ticket in a Book & Shop in the centre – Via Argentario 22 – valid for a week
- Biglietto Unico Tesori di Ravenna Antica which includes monuments on the theme of the mosaics and the Cripta Rasponi – Euro 5 per person (prices 2018):
✔Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra
✔MUSEO TAMO: the adventure of the mosaic inside the Complex of S. Nicolò (attention: opened only from 10.00 to 14.00)
✔Cripta Rasponi and Giardini Pensili (gardens) (attention: opened only from 10.00 to 14.00)
✔NOT INCLUDED in this kind of ticket, but to be considered absolutely as a “Treasure of the ancient Ravenna” is the crypt in St. Francesco Church, standing half in the water with some red fish. An unmissable attraction for children who have to insert a coin of 1 Euro to admire it in all its beauty. The entrance to the church is free.
ATTENTION: this last kind of ticket Tesori di Ravenna Antica can be bought in any of the three attractions above mentioned, but do like us and buy it in San Francesco Square by the crypt “Cripta Rasponi” because it costs 2 Euro less than by the other two attractions. Why it’s so I don’t know! Why pay 7 Euro instead of 5? Unfortunately I forgot to ask if also this ticket is valid for a week.
Personally I suggest to buy both kinds of tickets, as in my opinion prices are very good according to what they offer. Generally we don’t love so much visiting museums and prefer enjoying the town at the open air, but here in Ravenna we were very excited, above all our daughter Giada, about the beauty of all monuments and museums we visited, anyone of which left us particular emotions. So, I wouldn’t skip anything!
It seems however that there’s an unpleasant aspect as regards the purchase of the tickets: you can buy only combined tickets, but if you want to visit just one of these attractions, for example, it’s not possible; all or nothing. I didn’t notice the problem because it was my first time in the town and would like to visit everything, but I realize that this isn’t a correct thing, forcing people to an only choice.
- Last option: Romagna Card 17 Euro per person that I wouldn’t buy because all most beautiful attractions are not included, while for the others there’s a discount. As always, you should do the math to understand if with or without card you have a real advantage or not. Click this link to know further.
Other attractions not included in the combined tickets:
✔Basilica di San Francesco (church): you’ll find the crypt in the water with fish swimming – suggested
✔Basilica di San Giovanni Evangelista (church): very nice inside with mosaics of animals around the walls, in particular that one representing the unicorn that Giada liked so much, but I wouldn’t say an unmissable attraction.
✔Dante’s grave – suggested
✔Museo Dantesco (museum, not visited)
✔Museo Nazionale (museum, not visited)
✔Teodorico’s Palace (1 Euro per person, reduced 0,50 cent, open only from Thursday to Sunday from 8.30 to 13.30): they are only the remains of the palace you can see very good also from outside without spending money. Visit it only if you are around, but in my opnion don’t go there on purpose.
✔ Battistero degli Ariani (1 Euro per person, reduced 0.50 cent) – suggested
✔Rocca Brancaleone with gardens and playgrounds for children – suggested for the relax of the whole family
✔Mausoleo di Teodorico ( 4 Euro per person, reduced 2 Euro): it isn’t worth the money. Beautiful location for photos: the white of the grave, the green of the meadows and the blue sky, but for the rest there’s nothing interesting inside and there are no mosaics. It’s behind Rocca Brancaleone – not unmissable.
✔S. Apollinare in Classe (5 Euro aper person, reduced 2,50 Euro, FREE < 18 anni): it’s in Classe, 18 km from the centre of Ravenna, it’s the biggest example of the Early Christian Church, full of coloured mosaics (not visited).
Are all these monuments / attractions suitable also for children?
- if you have older guys like our Giada (11 years old) who loves art, I’d say absolutely yes: as I’ve just said before, they are very beautiful to see and don’t require too much time for the visit, so that also kids can appreciate their beauty without getting bored;
- if you have younger guys, you should maybe stop at the first kind of ticket avoiding the museums that could be more boring and incomprehensible to their eyes. Better for them only look at the fantastic and colourful mosaics.
- if you have a girl who loves dolls, ther’e also the “Dolls Museums”: a little world of playthings. Moreover the museum “Museo “La Casa delle Marionette” hosts the precious Monticelli collection
RAVENNA: SUGGESTIONS FOR THE VISIT
Our tour of Ravenna has been a bit confused not because we didn’t know what to visit, but we couldn’t follow our day plan because of some attractions that closed too early. We had this way to go here and there chasing the right attraction. In this point I’ll try to group all most attractions according to their proximity, so that you could avoid to jump here and there like we did.
Here are most attractions, all quite close to each other.
- Dome (closed from 12 to 14.30)
- Battistero Neoniano
- Museo Arcivescovile e Sant’Andrea chapel
- TAMO museum, a few minutes on foot from Museo Arcivescovile but attention that opens at 10 and closes at 14.
- Cripta Rasponi and giardini pensili (a few feet from Museo Arcivescovile), also this attraction opens at 10 and closes at 14.
- Basilica di San Francesco
- Tomba di Dante and Museo Dantesco (from this last museum, Piazza del Popolo is 250 mt. on foot)
As you see, both Tamo and Cripta Rasponi have a reduced visit time, so if you’ll begin your tour in the morning, my suggestion is to visit immediately the Dome, as at lunch time is closed, the Baptistery and the wonderful S. Andrea chapel, finishing with the museum and the crypt by 14.
If you’ll begin your tour in the afternoon like us, visit directly the church Basilica di San Francesco, Apollinare Nuovo etc, until you complete the A and B group, or go directly to the other groups and do as you like, according to your arrival time in the town.
- Basilica di S. Apollinare Nuovo (it takes about 1 km on foot from the Tomba di Dante)
- Palazzo di Teodorico (remains of the palace, 1 minute on foot from Apollinare, opened only from Thursday to Sunday from 8,30 to 13,30)
- Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista (about 350 metri on foot from Apollinare; in this point you have the train station of Ravenna in front of you).
- Battistero degli Ariani (350 mt. on foot from San Giovanni Evangelista, on the way back to the centre town).
- Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra (about 500 mt. on foot from Piazza del Popolo)
- Basilica di San Vitale (300 mt. a on foot from Domus)
- Mausoleo di Galla Placidia
- Museo Nazionale di Ravenna
- Rocca Brancaleone
- Mausoleum and Teodorico’ park.
These last two attractions are a little out of the way than the others: the Rocca is about 800 mt. on foot (15 minutes) from the central Piazza del Popolo, while from Battistero degli Ariani is about 500 mt. Mausoleum is behind the Rocca at a distance of about 650 mt. (10 minuti on foot).
RAVENNA: WHERE TO STAY
Il cielo in una stanza
Sure I suggest you a central place, so that you are near to the main attractions and you can visit everything with calm, forgetting your car fot the whole stay. We booked with Booking.com an apartment in the centre town also to avoid restaurants: we brought a pair of already cooked things from home with paper dishes and glasses to tide up quick.
Il cielo in una stanza: Via Cavour 15 – Ravenna
- central position and very close to all main attractions of Ravenna
- it takes only 1 km on foot from the station (10 minutes)
- 10 minutes on foot also from the car park in Largo Giustiniano
- very gentle and kind owner that let us keep free our luggage inside the apartment until our departure time (14.00)
- wide, pleasant and clean apartment at our arrival
- our daughter was very happy to have her own bedroom perfectly organized as she wanted
- a great quantity of towels
- check-in, check-out and payment quick and easy.
- they should pay more attention to the cleaning of the kitchen, also inside the drawers and the tools should be better cleaned.
- they don’t clean every day, but this point is shown on Booking, and you have to pay 35 Euro extra for the final cleanings + 2 Euro per person for the city taxes, also that shown in Booking.
- stay suitable for a brief time 1/2 days.
RAVENNA: WITH OR WITHOUT CAR?
Ravenna is a completely walkable town or you can go by bike and these are two nice aspects. Car is needless if you’ll remain in the centre for the visits, but even if you would like to go to Classe to visit the famous church “S. Apollinare in Classe” and the ancient harbour “Porto di Classe”, you can take the bus or the train; the same to reach the seaside.
For example we vist the town on foot, while to reach it we travelled by train buying a normal ticket (not Frecciarossa or Italo) to spare money, as the distance between our town and Ravenna is only about 350 km. We had 3 changes to do but it was nothing strenghten, and the trains were always already ready to go: from Lecco we took about 6 hours total. Travelling by train all the more reasons you should have a central hotel, as you’ll have also your luggage with you.
In case you’ll arrive by auto, I saw that outside the station car parks are to be paid or it’s required the parking disk. It seemed me instead very cheap the car park in Largo Giustiniano that our owner suggested us, as he didn’t know we would have arrived by train: you’ll pay only 3 Euro per day! Click here to get more info about car parks.
RAVENNA: WHERE TO EAT
- As you know, we travel also considering the theme “saving”, so we can’t make a list of the best restaurants of the town, but I can say that we ate a fantastic piada, people say the best in Romagna, at “Piadina del Melarancio”: abundant portions, 22 Euro in three for three piadas, a beer and a coke, and a nice grandma on the door who invites you to enter 😀
- For us the best ice-cream is by “Gelateria Papilla”, in the very centre town near Piazza del Popolo: very tasty and easy digestible.
- For an after dinner with pastries and hot and cold drinks we went to “Il Nazionale” in Piazza del Popolo, not cheap but we didn’t resist to a sicilian pastry (even if we were in Ravenna) and three different kinds of pastries: 20 Euro total.
RAVENNA: COST OF THE TRAVEL
about 150 Euro per person
- apartment: about 30 Euro per person per night
- train Lecco – Ravenna: about 44 Euro a/r per person (children until 12 pay half)
- attractions: about 16 Euro per person
- piadas, ice-creams, pastries and a quick shop at the supermarket : about 25 Euro per person
- souvenirs: 20 Euro total
RAVENNA: MY OPINION
When people decide to visit an art town, think immediately to Florence or Rome: well, they’re superb! Anyway there are smaller towns, less invaded from the tourism, that have nothing to envy to the big towns above mentioned. One of these is Ravenna: a big surprise ignored by us for too long! Many museums and such art to let you feel dizzy, and moreover good food!
A small town, human sized and children friendly: beyond the fantastic mosaics that make all children surprised, there are several green areas with plays for them and benches for our relax. In the town you’ll find different: the most beautiful and equipped with also a bar is the one that hosts the gardens inside Rocca Brancaleone, another one is near San Giovanni Evangelista’church (station area), another in the park where is Teodorico’s mausoleum and in the end near the church “Basilica di S. Apollinare in Classe” that we didn’t visit.
I’d say that Ravenna is absolutely to be considered to spend a nice weekend for a little journey outside!
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THE MEANING OF TRAVEL FOR ME
In the last years I follow what Dalai Lama says:” At least once a year go to a place you’ve never been before”.
After years of sufferings and sacrifices, I’ve decided that life is too short and too unpredictable to continue waiting to do what I like and what makes me happy.
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Travel is for me Love – Freedom – Gratitude
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