Jolly Hotel, Ravenna ****
The Jolly Hotel Mameli is a superior four-star hotel conveniently situated for business guests and holidaymakers alike, close to the railway station and Ravenna's centro storico. It is hard to believe this elegant modern city was once the capital of the Late Roman Empire and subsequently became the principal Italian city of the Byzantine Empire ... View hotel
Double rooms from €56
Hotel Mosaico , Ravenna ***
Hotel Mosaico, Ravenna - this lovely four star Ravenna hotel is on Via Darsena in the heart of town. Overlooking the city docks, it is at the beginning of the canal that joins Ravenna to the sea. You are right by the Mausoleum of Teodorico here, one of the eight... View hotel
Double rooms from €50
Hotel Centrale Byron, Ravenna ***
This simple little family-run hotel in Ravenna has an excellent location just off the central Piazza del Popolo; it lies within easy walking distance of all the city's wonderful churches with their renowned mosaic decoration and the town's excellent covered market. View hotel
Double rooms from €55
Once the seat of the Holy Roman Empire, Ravenna has more than its share of cultural and historic treasures, with buildings from the Classical era and a particular wealth of Byzantine artwork. The court was relocated from Milan in 402AD by a panicking Emperor Honorius who wisely decided to flee the invading Goths. In those days Ravenna sat on Italy's Adriatic coast, though the waters have receded 11km since, with a canal now linking the city to the sea.
The Goths eventually arrived and annexed this rich Roman city of course, building and embellishing it further, before being supplanted by Byzantine forces, who made Ravenna an outpost of the Eastern Roman Empire. The town fell to the Papal States, Vienna, the Cisalpine Republic and eventually ... Italy. Confused? The history of central and northern Italy can do that to you, but the results are there for us to enjoy in the shape of an extraordinary legacy of architecture and art. Box-ticking visitors have to see the eight early Christian jewels which comprise the Ravenna UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Neonian Baptistery and Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Arian Baptistry, the Archepiscopal Chapel, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, and the Basilicas of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, San Vitale and Sant' Apollinare in Classe. All date from the 5th and 6th centuries AD, with the mosaics at San Vitale being generally acknowledged as the greatest examples of Byzantine art still in existence.
Important churches include Spirito Santo (5th century), Basilica of St Francis (10th-11th), the Baroque churches of Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni Battista, and the 18th century facade of Santa Maria in Porto.