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The provincial and picturesque town of Ravenna is an unassuming and inviting place that harbours a stunning architectural secret. Ravenna’s most alluring attractions are undoubtedly the magnificent, mosaic fronted churches that decorated the centre, the decorative designs of which were bequeathed by Byzantine artists. The inspiring quality of the town has been confirmed by legendary authors such as Dante and Lord Byron, who resided in Ravenna for a short sojourn. A rich literary heritage combines with an arresting artful aesthetic, making Ravenna a beguiling and distinctive choice of holiday destination.
The star of Ravenna’s aesthetically stunning show is irrefutably the Basilica of Sant Apollinare Nuovo, a sacred structure whose interior is a remarkable rhapsody of colour and vibrancy. Ancient mosaics depict religious scenes and figures in exquisite detail using solely small ceramic tiles, and the effect is breath-taking; even more awe-inspiring is the fact the church dates back to the 6th century.
An attraction that appears rather anomalous in relation the elaborately decorated mosaics of the town is the Mausoleo di Teodorico, a grand and gothic mausoleum that towers over other structures. Built in honour of the late king Teodorico, the monument is revered for its incredibly early incorporation of Gothic style and the Roman basin that resides in its centre.
Hailed as one of Ravenna’s hidden gems, the secretive and sumptuous La Piada di Ale is a rustic restaurant that specialises in the local delicacy of piada, a crisp Italian flat bread topped with a variety of ingredients. Sink into the atmospheric ambience of the eatery and sample a piada smothered in melted mozzarella, crisp parma ham, soft mushrooms and fresh basil. Bellisimo!(Viale della Lirica 11, 48124, Ravenna, Italy)