Things to do in Ravenna

About Ravenna

The Basilica of San Vitale, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, and the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo top the list of must-see attractions in Ravenna. These stunning sites showcase some of the most exquisite Byzantine mosaics in the world and are significant for both their historical and artistic value.
For families, Mirabilandia theme park provides thrilling rides and entertainment suitable for all ages, while the interactive TAMO Museum offers hands-on mosaic workshops. The city's beaches are also great for a relaxing day of sun and sandcastles.
Exploring the ancient Port of Classe, cycling through the Po Delta Park, or relaxing at Marina di Ravenna beach are among the best outdoor activities. These experiences allow visitors to enjoy Ravenna's natural landscapes and historical settings.
Visiting the city's famed mosaics within UNESCO World Heritage Sites, exploring the art collections at MAR - Ravenna Art Museum, and immersing in the historical exhibits of the National Museum are some of the top indoor activities in Ravenna.
The best tours in Ravenna often include guided walks that focus on the city's mosaic treasures, historical storytelling experiences, and culinary tours that sample local Romagnolo delights. These tours offer comprehensive insights into Ravenna's rich cultural tapestry.
The MAR - Ravenna Art Museum and the National Museum of Ravenna are popular for their extensive collections. TAMO Museum stands out for its focus on the art of mosaics, a symbol of Ravenna's artistic heritage.
On rainy days, the best tours are those that visit the covered archaeological sites like the Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra or the town's mosaic-adorned churches and basilicas, as well as museum visits that provide shelter while exploring local history and art.
Tours that are 1 hour or less typically include concise guided visits to the city’s centrally-located historical sites, such as the Basilica of San Vitale or Dante's Tomb, making them ideal for those with limited time.

Best Things to Do In Ravenna

Discover Ravenna's rich heritage through its captivating mosaics, historic monuments, and unique cultural experiences.

Ravenna: Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo

What is it?
A former palatine church adorned with ancient mosaics, standing since the 6th century.
Why you should go?
The Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo is a testament to Theodoric the Great's vision and offers a majestic atmosphere for visitors. Its interior mosaics, including a procession of martyrs and saints, create a compelling narrative, making it an enlightening stop on any Ravenna tour. Immerse yourself in the serenity and beauty of this historical site, and let the storytelling mosaics transport you back to a significant era of religious art and architecture.

Ravenna: Baptistry of Neon

What is it?
One of the oldest monuments in Ravenna, known for its breathtaking mosaics.
Why you should go?
The Baptistry of Neon (also known as the Orthodox Baptistry) is an architectural marvel that showcases the pinnacle of early Christian mosaic art. Visitors are captivated by its artistry, especially the stunning ceiling mosaic depicting the Baptism of Christ. This central octagonal masterpiece provides insight into the theological perspectives and artistic merits of the time, solidifying its status among the paramount things to see in Ravenna.

Ravenna: Mar - Ravenna Art Museum

What is it?
An art museum blending classic and contemporary exhibitions.
Why you should go?
At Ravenna's Art Museum (MAR), art enthusiasts can explore a prolific mix that spans from historic mosaics to modern installations. With its diverse and rotating exhibitions, the museum challenges and delights the senses. MAR acts as a cultural hub that connects Ravenna's illustrious past with its dynamic present, making it one of the essential things to do in Ravenna for anyone interested in the evolution of art.

Ravenna: Teodorico Park

What is it?
A verdant park surrounding the tomb of Theodoric the Great, offering both history and nature.
Why you should go?
Teodorico Park is an idyllic retreat that encapsulates nature and monumental history. Stroll among ancient pines and examine Theodoric's austere mausoleum. This fusion of natural beauty and fascinating history provides a serene escape from the urban hustle, offering a reflective experience for visitors interested in the gothic past of Ravenna.

Ravenna: Classe Archaeological Park

What is it?
An intriguing site offering an archaeological glimpse into Ravenna's ancient port.
Why you should go?
At Classe Archaeological Park, history unfolds amidst the ruins of what once was an important maritime center. The remains of warehouses, docks, and an amphitheater invite imaginative reconstructions of the bustling life in this ancient commercial hub. For a unique experience that couples the excitement of discovery with educational enrichment, this park is unmatched.

Ravenna: Basilica of San Vitale

What is it?
A prestigious monument of Christian art with unparalleled mosaics.
Why you should go?
The Basilica of San Vitale is not only a central piece of Ravenna's identity but also a beacon of Byzantine mastery in Italy. Visitors are enamored by the vivid narrative scenes that adorn its walls and the detailed artistry of each tile. The basilica's magnificence symbolizes historical significance and artistic innovation. An essential visit for understanding Ravenna's acclaim as a repository of ancient art, it offers an immersive glimpse into the spiritual and aesthetic accomplishments of early Christianity.

Ravenna: Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

What is it?
An architectural marvel that stands as a symbol of imperial legacy.
Why you should go?
Often described as a "cross-shaped jewel box," the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is a treasure trove of stunning fifth-century mosaics. Its modest exterior belies the celestial display inside, from the starry sky designs to the delicate portrayals of saints. This mausoleum is an intimate space that encapsulates the exquisite craftsmanship of the era, making it a must-see for those on the best Ravenna tours.

Ravenna: Dante's Tomb

What is it?
The resting place of one of the greatest poets in literature.
Why you should go?
Dante's Tomb is a monument of simplicity and serenity, a poignant reminder of the city's welcoming spirit to the exiled Dante Alighieri. Located near the Basilica of San Francesco, this site is a pilgrimage for literature aficionados and those intrigued by the life and legacy of Dante. Visits are often soul-stirring, connecting the individual to the profound narratives woven by the poet.

Ravenna: Piazza del Popolo

What is it?
The vibrant main square that's the focal point of local life.
Why you should go?
Piazza del Popolo is the heartbeat of Ravenna, characterized by its Venetian-style architecture and lively atmosphere. As a locale for socialization, culture, and historical value, the piazza invites visitors to experience the daily pulse of city life. Whether enjoying an espresso in a café or attending an event, this space offers a remarkable blend of what to do in Ravenna.

Ravenna: Archiepiscopal Museum

What is it?
A repository of ecclesiastical art and artifacts with a storied past.
Why you should go?
the Archiepiscopal Museum presents a fascinating exploration through religious history and art, home to a collection that spans several centuries. Highlights include the Ivory Throne of Maximian and the exquisite mosaics of the ancient chapel. For visitors interested in the evolution of religious practice and iconography, this museum continues to be a cornerstone among the cultural and historical things to see in Ravenna.

TOP-5 tours in Ravenna for first time visitors

  • Dive into the world of Byzantine art with an audio tour of the Basilica of San Vitale, famous for its exquisite ancient mosaics.
  • Explore Dante's legacy in Ravenna on a journey through the poet's last refuge, including the Dante Museum and his tomb.
  • Step back into Ravenna's Gothic past with a narrated stroll around the solemn yet striking Mausoleum of Theodoric.
  • Uncover the mysteries of the Arian Baptistry and Neonian Baptistery, where audio insights reveal early Christian history and art.
  • Wander through Ravenna's charming streets with stories of the city's role as a capital of the Western Roman Empire ringing in your ears.

Fun things to do in Ravenna with kids

Ravenna offers a delightful array of attractions perfect for family outings with a touch of learning and fun. The mosaic masterclass at the Tamo Museum ignites creativity, offering children a hands-on experience in the ancient art that makes Ravenna famous. For an adventurous day out, Mirabilandia, one of Italy's largest amusement parks located near Ravenna, provides thrill rides, family-friendly attractions, and enchanting shows that are sure to please both the young and the young at heart. To conclude a perfect day, take a stroll through the verdant pathways of the Rasponi Garden, a magical place where kids can play among the fountains, discover aromatic plants, and perhaps enjoy one of the regular family-focused events. These top attractions blend educational experiences with the pure joy of discovery, making them ideal for families searching for what to see in Ravenna with kids.

Things to do in Ravenna with family

Families visiting Ravenna can savor a memorable blend of cultural enrichment and recreation. Embark on a captivating journey through ancient history with a visit to the Basilica of San Vitale, where parents and kids alike can marvel at the magnificent mosaics with an engaging audio tour. The thrill-seekers in the family will find excitement at Mirabilandia, the nearby amusement park offering roller coasters, water rides, and themed areas that cater to all ages. For a more tranquil experience, the Planetarium of Ravenna presents a mesmerizing foray into the stars, where galactic shows enthrall and educate curious minds. These diverse attractions represent the best of Ravenna, from its historic splendor and artistic legacy to modern-day family fun, ensuring a trip packed with things to do in Ravenna for the whole family.

Free things to do in Ravenna

Treasure-seekers rejoice! Ravenna's rich historical tapestry can be admired without spending a cent. Begin with a visit to the Piazza del Popolo, the city's main square that enchants with its Venetian architecture and palpable history - a perfect spot for people-watching and soaking up local culture. Art aficionados will appreciate the stunning array of ancient frescoes available for viewing at the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, serving as a testament to the city's vibrant past. Lastly, bask in nature's tranquility by unwinding in the lush Public Gardens (Giardini Pubblici), offering a picturesque green space ideal for leisurely strolls and picnics. These attractions rank highly among the best things to do in Ravenna, offering soul-enriching experiences that promise to leave lasting memories of this enchanting city.

Cheap things to do in Ravenna

Experience the historical charm of Ravenna without stretching the purse strings. Take a leisurely walk through the city's cobblestone streets and marvel at the famed mosaic exteriors, such as those on the Basilica di San Vitale, for a visual feast that's absolutely free. For a small entrance fee, step back in time at the Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra, where ancient Roman homes reveal stunning mosaic floors. Another budget-friendly option is enjoying the serene ambiance of the city’s Dante Alighieri's Tomb. This revered site, paying homage to Italy's great poet, is an oasis of reflection and a significant cultural landmark. These attractions offer insight into the treasures of Ravenna, making the city a must-visit for travelers seeking enriching experiences that are both affordable and unforgettable.

Things to do in Ravenna for couples

Romance flourishes in the historic heart of Ravenna, offering couples an array of intimate experiences. Begin with a stroll through the UNESCO-listed basilicas, where you can share moments of awe beneath the radiant mosaics, an inspirational start to a romantic day. Continue with a peaceful amble in the Rasponi Garden, also known as the Hanging Gardens, where tranquil greenery and fragrant florals provide a perfect backdrop for a couple’s retreat. As evening descends, unwind at a cozy wine bar in the Piazza del Popolo, the city's main square, and toast to the day with a glass of local Sangiovese. Ravenna's blend of art, history, and ambient charm offers couples endless opportunities to create precious memories together.

Things to do in Ravenna at night

Ravenna's evening ambiance provides a unique charm that captivates night owls and culture vultures alike. As the sun sets, the city's iconic mosaics at the Basilica of San Vitale begin to glow, offering a serene and romantic setting. Piazza del Popolo comes alive with locals and tourists mingling in cafes and restaurants, embracing the Italian tradition of 'la dolce vita.' Wine enthusiasts can savor tastings at enotecas that dot the city, indulging in the rich tapestry of Italian viticulture. Alternatively, catch a live performance at the Teatro Alighieri, a splendid opera house that showcases a variety of shows from classical music concerts to contemporary dance, providing a touch of sophistication to the cultural experiences one can enjoy in Ravella after dark.