img_coa = Ravenna-Stemma.png
official_name = Comune di Ravenna
province = Ravenna (RA)
elevation_m = 4
area_total_km2 = 652.89
December 31, 2005
population_total = 149084
population_density_km2 = 228.34
timezone = CET, UTC+1
coordinates = coord|44|25|N|12|12|E
frazioni = Casalborsetti, Lido di Savio, Lido di Classe, Lido di Dante, Lido Adriano, Marina di Ravenna, Punta Marina Terme, Porto Corsini, Porto Fuori, Marina Romea, Ammonite, Camerlona, Mandriole, Savarna, Grattacoppa, Conventello, Torri, Mezzano, Sant'Antonio, San Romualdo, Sant'Alberto, Borgo Montone, Fornace Zarattini, Piangipane, San Marco, San Michele, Santerno, Villanova di Ravenna, Borgo Sisa, Bastia, Borgo Faina, Carraie, Campiano, Casemurate, Caserma, Castiglione di Ravenna, Classe, Coccolia, Ducenta, Durazzano, Filetto, Fosso Ghiaia, Gambellara, Ghibullo, Longana, Madonna dell'Albero, Massa Castello, Mensa Matellica, Osteria, Pilastro, Roncalceci, Ragone, Santo Stefano, San Bartolo, San Zaccaria, Savio, S. Pietro in Trento, San Pietro in Vincoli, San Pietro in Campiano
telephone = 0544
postalcode = 48100
gentilic = Ravennati
mayor = Fabrizio Matteucci
website = [http://www.comune.ravenna.it www.comune.ravenna.it]
Ravenna is a
cityand " comune" in the Emilia-Romagnaregion of Italy. The city is inland, but is connected to the Adriatic Seaby a canal. Ravenna once served as the seat of the Western Roman Empireand later the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths and the Exarchate of Ravenna. It is presently the capital of the Province of Ravenna. At 652.89 km² (252.08 sq mi), Ravenna is the second-largest "comune" in land area in Italy, although it is only a little more than half the size of the largest, Rome.
The origins of Ravenna are uncertain. The first settlement is variously attributed to the
Tyrrhenians, the Thessaliansor the Umbrians. Ravenna consisted of houses built on piles on a series of small islands in a marshy lagoon - a situation similar to Veniceseveral centuries later. The Romans ignored it during their conquest of the Po RiverDelta, but later accepted it into the Roman Republicas a federated town in 89 BC. In 49 BC, it was the location where Julius Caesargathered his forces before crossing the Rubicon. Later, after his battle against Mark Antonyin 31 BC, Emperor Augustusfounded the military harbor of Classe. [From "classis, Latin "fleet".] This harbor, protected at first by its own walls, was an important station of the Roman Imperial Fleet. Nowadays the city is landlocked, but Ravenna remained an important seaporton the Adriaticuntil the early Middle Ages. , were confined at Ravenna.
Ravenna greatly prospered under Roman rule. Emperor
Trajanbuilt a 70 km long aqueduct at the beginning of the 2nd century. In 402, Emperor Honoriustransferred the capital of the Western Roman Empirefrom Milanto Ravenna. The transfer was made primarily for defensive purposes: Ravenna was surrounded by swamps and marshes and had ease of access to Imperial forces of the Eastern Roman Empire. However, in 409, King Alaric Iof the Visigothssimply bypassed Ravenna, and went on to sack Romeand to take Galla Placidia, daughter of Emperor Theodosius I, hostage. After many vicissitudes, Galla Placidia returned to Ravenna with her son, Emperor Valentinian IIIand the support of her nephew Theodosius II. Ravenna enjoyed a period of peace, during which time the Christian religion was favoured by the imperial court, and the city gained its most famous monuments, both secular (demolished) and Christian (largely preserved).
In 476, the Western Roman Empire fell. Eastern Emperor Zeno sent
OstrogothKing Theodoric the Greatto re-take the Italian peninsula. After the Battle of Verona, Odoacerretreated to Ravenna, where he withstood a siege of three years by Theodoric, until the taking of Riminideprived Ravenna of supplies. After Theodoric slew Odoacer, Ravenna was the capital of the Ostrogothic kingdom of Italy. After 493, Theodoric employed Roman architects for secular and religious structures, including the lost palace near Sant'Apollinare Nuovo; the "Palazzo di Teodorico" was an outbuilding. Theodoric and his followers were Arians, but co-existed peacefully with the Latins. Theodoric died in 526 and was succeeded by his daughter Amalasunta, who was killed in 535.
However, Byzantine Emperor
Justinian Iwas fanatically orthodox, and opposed both Ostrogoth rule and the Arian variety of Christianity. In 535 he invaded Italy and in 540 conquered Ravenna. Ravenna became the seat of Byzantine government in Italy (see also Gothic War).The Restauratio Imperii in Ravenna also benefited to the nearby harbour of Classe (Classis), which is sometimes called the Pompeii of Late Antiquity. The most representative remnant of that period is the church St. Apollinaris (VI-VII century AD), whose relics were laid in the church. But even if Classe was founded during the Roman period, it has grown mainly during the Late Empire. As Ravenna's port, it was one of the key exchange platforms in the VI-VII th century AD, and the main harbour of the Italian Adriatic seashore.
Exarchate of Ravenna
Following the conquests of
Belisariusfor the Emperor Justinian Iin the sixth century, Ravenna became the seat of the Byzantine governor of Italy, the Exarch, and was known as the Exarchate of Ravenna. It was at this time that the Ravenna Cosmographywas written.
Lombards, under King Liutprand, occupied Ravenna in 712, but were forced to return it to the Byzantines. However, in 751 the Lombard king Aistulfsucceeded in conquering Ravenna, thus ending Byzantine rule in northern Italy.
King Pepin of France attacked the Lombards under orders of
Pope Stephen II. Ravenna then became territory of the Papal Statesin 784. In return, Pope Adrian Iauthorized King Charlemagneto take away anything from Ravenna that he liked. Charlemagne made three looting expeditions to Ravenna, removing a vast quantity of Roman columns, mosaics, statues, and other portable items to enrich his capital of Aachen.
Under Papal rule, the
archbishopof Ravenna enjoyed autocephalyfrom the Roman Church - a privilege obtained under Byzantine rule. Due to donations by the Ottonianemperors, the archbishop of Ravenna was the richest in Italy after the Papacy, and was thus successfully able to challenge the temporal authority of the Pope on occasion.
In 1198 Ravenna led a league of
Romagnacities against the Emperor, and the Pope was able to subdue it. After the war of 1218 the Traversarifamily was able to impose its rule in the city, which lasted until 1240. After a short period under an Imperial vicar, Ravenna was returned to the Papal States in 1248 and again to the Traversari until, in 1275, the Da Polentaestablished their long-lasting seigniory. One of the most illustrious residents of Ravenna at this time was the exiled poet Dante. The last of the Da Polenta, Ostasio III, was ousted by the Republic of Venicein 1440, and the city was annexed to the Venetian territories.
Ravenna was ruled by Venice until 1509, when the area was invaded in the course of the
Italian Wars. In 1512, during the Holy League wars, Ravenna was sacked by the French.
After the Venetian withdrawal, Ravenna was again ruled by legates of the
Popeas part of the Papal States. The city was damaged in a tremendous flood in May 1636. Over the next 3 centuries, a network of canalsdiverted nearby rivers and drained nearby swamps, thus reducing the possibility of flooding and creating a large belt of agricultural land around the city.
Apart another short occupation by Venice (1527-1529), Ravenna was part of the Papal States until 1796, when it was annexed to the French puppet state of the
Cisalpine Republic(Italian Republic from 1802 and Kingdom of Italy from 1805). it was returned to the Pope in 1814. occupied by Piedmontese troops in 1859, Ravenna and the surrounding Romagnaarea became part of the new unified Kingdom of Italy in 1861.
Eight early Christian monuments of Ravenna are inscribed on the
World Heritage List. These are
Neonian Baptistery(c. 430)
Mausoleum of Galla Placidia(c. 430)
Arian Baptistry(c. 500)
Archiepiscopal Chapel(c. 500)
Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo(c. 500)
Mausoleum of Theodoric(520)
Basilica of San Vitale(548)
Basilica of Sant' Apollinare in Classe(549)
Other tourist attractions include:
*the ancient church of the "Spirito Santo", which has maintained the original lines from the 5th century. It was originally an Arian temple. The façade has a noteworthy 16th century portico with 5 arcades.
*The church of St. John the Evangelist is also from the 5th century, erected by
Galla Placidiaafter a seastorm. It was restored after the World War II bombings.
*The St. Francis basilica, rebuilt in the 10th-11th centuries over a precedent edifice dedicated to the Apostles and later to St. Peter. Behind the humble brick façade, it has a nave and two aisles. Fragments of mosaics from the primitive church are visible on the floor, which is usually covered by water after heavy rains (together with the crypt). Here the funeral ceremony of
Dante Alighieriwas held in 1321. The poet is buried in a tomb annexed to the church, the local authorities having resisted for centuries all demands by Florence for return of the remains of its most famous exile.
Baroquechurch of "Santa Maria Maggiore" (525-532, rebuilt in 1671). It houses a picture by Luca Longhi.
*The church of "San Giovanni Battista" 1683, also of Baroque style, with a Middle Ages belfry.
*The basilica of "Santa Maria in Porto" (16th century), with a rich façade from the 18th century. It has a nave and two aisles, with a high cupola. It houses the image of famous "Greek Madonna", which was allegedly brought to Ravenna from Constantinople.
*The nearby Communal Gallery has various works from Romagnoli painters.
Rocca Brancaleone" ("Brancaleone Castle"), built by the Venetians in 1457. Once part of the city walls, it is now a public park. It is divided into two parts: the true Castle and the Citadel, the latter having an extent of 14,000 m².
Palace of Theoderic, in fact the entrance to the former church of San Salvatore. It includes mosaics from the true Palace of the Ostrogoth king.
*The church of "
Santa Eufemia" (18th century), gives access to the so-called Stone Carpets Domus(6th-7th century): this houses splendid mosaics from a Byzantine palace.
*The National Museum.
Ravenna has an important commercial and tourist port.
By road, it can be reached through from the highway hub of
Bolognaor, from Venice, with State Road 309 "Romea". From Rome the fastest connections is the E45 International Road; the other main connection to southern Italy is the State Street 16 "Adriatica".
The railroad station has connections to
Bologna, Ferrara, Venice, Veronaand Rimini.
Ravenna in literature
Lord Byronlived in Ravenna between 1819 and 1821, led by the love for a local aristocratic and married young woman, Teresa Guiccioli. Here he continued the "Don Juan" and wrote the "Ravenna Diary", "My Dictionary" and "Recollections". [http://www.turismo.ra.it/contenuti/index.php?t=scrittori&id=21&cat=3] Oscar Wildewrote a poem in 1878 entitled [http://www.infomotions.com/etexts/literature/english/1800-1899/wilde-ravenna-609.htm "Ravenna"] .
Russian Symbolist poet
Alexander Blokwrote a poem entitled Ravenna(May-June 1909) inspired by his Italian journey (spring 1909).
During his travels, German poet
Hermann Hessecame across Ravenna and was inspired to write two poems of the city. They are entitled "Ravenna (1)" and "Ravenna (2)".
Chichester, United Kingdom
Dubrovnik, Croatia, since 1969
Speyer, Germany, since 1989
* [http://www.turismo.ravenna.it/ Tourism and culture] Official website it en
*" [http://www.gutenberg.net/etext/12542 Ravenna, A Study] " (1913) by Edward Hutton, from
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12662b.htm "Catholic Encyclopedia":] Ravenna's early history and its monuments
* [http://www.paradoxplace.com/Perspectives/Venice%20&%20N%20Italy/Ravenna/Ravenna%202003.htm Adrian Fletcher's Paradoxplace Ravenna Pages] (photos)
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