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Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Ravenna is located about 60 kilometers north of San Marino. It is the capital of the province of Ravenna (Italian: Provincia di Ravenna) in the region of Emilia-Romagna. It was also the capital of the Western Empire in the fifth century and then of Byzantine Italy until the eighth century. Thanks to this the town of Ravenna has unique collection of early Christian mosaics and buildings.

Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe

Our tour begins with a visit at the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe (A; GPS: 44.380235, 12.232761), located in Classe, about 8 km south of the Ravenna's center. At the basilica there is a parking lot (P1; GPS: 44.378487, 12.234907), where you can keep the car. The outer walls of the basilica are built from narrow, red bricks, connected to each other with lime mortar. Above the entrance there is a three-part window. The bell tower dates from the tenth century. Interior of the basilica has three naves, separated by two rows of twelve columns made ​​of Greek marble. In the apse has been presented St. Apollinaris in the background of flowered landscape with sheeps.

Near the building there is a statue of Emperor Augustus, who founded the port of Classe.

Piazza del Popolo

The central place of Ravenna is Piazza del Popolo (B; GPS: 44.417720, 12.199749), which often hosts various events. In the vicinity there are two parking lots: the Piazza John Fitzgerald Kennedy (P2; GPS: 44.416774, 12.197367, 130 places, 0.5€/15 min.) and Largo Firenze Street (P3; GPS: 44.416176, 12.201739, 111 places, 0.5€/15 min.).

Baptistery of Neon

Not far from Piazza del Popolo, at small Via Battistero street, there is the Baptistery of Neon (C; GPS: 44.415624, 12.197356). Built at the beginning of fifth century, was richly decorated with mosaics by bishop Neon in the middle of fifth century.

Basilica of San Vitale and the mausoleum of Galla Placidia

We move farther in the direction of oldest areas of the town. You can of course leave your car in one of parking lots mentioned above and move around on foot. Otherwise, you can leave the car on a fairly large parking lot located at Largo Giustiniani street (P4; GPS: 44.421881, 12.196144, 360 places, 2.5€/day). At the Galla Placida street, there is the church of Santa Maria Maggiore (D; GPS: 44.421165, 12.197372) from sixth century, rebuilt in seventeenth century, and famous Basilica of San Vitale (E; GPS: 44.420624, 12.196133) from sixth century, which is one of the most important examples of early Byzantine Christian art and architecture in western Europe. The interior of the church is built on octagonal plan and combines Romanesque and Byzantine elements. Mosaics on the side walls show scenes from Old Testament. In addition, the interior is decorated with 15 mosaics, depicting Jesus, the apostles, and St. Gervais. On the side walls of the apse there are located mosaics dedicated to the Emperor Justinian I and his wife Theodora.

Next to the Basilica is located the mausoleum of Galla Placidia built in the mid-fifth century.

Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo

At the Via di Roma street you can find another early Christian building - the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo (GPS: 44.416808, 12.205073). The church was built in early sixth century. At the beginning it obtained the name of St. Martin of Tours. The name of St. Apollinaris was given to the basilica in ninth century, when it received relics from Sant'Apollinare in Classe. The name of the building is then "The new Basilica of St. Apollinaris" (the Sant'Apollinare in Classe is the older building).

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