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Things to Do in Ravenna


Basilica of San Vitale (Basilica di San Vitale)

In 402 AD, during the latter days of the Western Roman Empire, Ravenna was made its capital, so it is fitting that this lovely city has some of the most important religious sights dating from the early days of Christianity. Now UNESCO-listed with all the other glorious mosaic showstoppers in the city, theBasilica of San Vitale (Basilica di San Vitale) dates from the mid sixth century; work started on it in 526 at the behest of Ecclesius, Bishop of Ravenna, and it was consecrated in 547. However, the Byzantines conquered Rome in 540 and took over the construction of the octagonal marble basilica. The resulting internal decoration is believed to be the finest example of Byzantine art in the world, executed by unknown master craftsmen over many years and liberally coating the interior with bejeweled mosaics. Detailed Biblical scenes contrast with depictions of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, ornamented with stylized patterns in green, red and gold, while the cupola is adorned with Baroque frescoes added in 1780 by artists from across northern Italy.

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Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (Mausoleo di Galla Placidia)

UNESCO-listed with all the other glorious Roman mosaic masterpieces in Ravenna, the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is testament to the days when the city was the capital of the Western Roman Empire. Galla Placidia was the powerful sister of Honorius, the last emperor of Rome; she married Ataulf, King of the Visigoths, acted as regent for 12 years, died in Rome in 450 AD and is probably buried there, but nevertheless her official mausoleum is found in a terracotta-colored brick chapel among neat gardens behind Ravenna’s San Vitale Basilica. Unassuming on the outside, the chapel’s entire vaulted interior glitters with Byzantine mosaics dating from around 430 AD and representing the star-strewn night sky and intricate Biblical scenes, decorated with highly colored geometrical patterns. Gently lit by shafts of light from narrow windows, depictions of the Good Shepherd and the Martyrdom of St Lawrence adorn the niches, with figures of the Apostles floating on the upper walls. Three marble sarcophagi are reputed to contain the bodies of Galla Placidia, her second husband and son, but these were placed in the mausoleum in medieval times.

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Mirabilandia is an amusement and adventure park located in Ravenna, Italy. The main park covers an area of 30 hectares, and there’s an additional water park known as Mira Beach. Both sections include high­octane rides and slides, plus various shows, attractions, and facilities.

Some of the most popular rides at Mirabilandia include Divertical, which at 60 meters tall is the highest water coaster in the world, plus the new Legends of Dead Town, which lays claim to being the biggest horror house in Europe. There’s also the high­speed Katun inverted roller coaster and the iSpeed launched coaster, plus El Dorado Falls, which features a 27-­meter water jump and a final 15-­meter high wave. Mirabilandia also boasts the 90-­meter tall Eurowheel, the second tallest Ferris wheel in Europe.

The park has plenty of gentle rides and attractions for younger children too, as well as various shows, shops, and restaurants.

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