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Ravenna

Located on the Adriatic and equidistant from Venice and Florence, Ravenna is best known for the wonderful mosaic decorations of its churches and tombs, relics from its Byzantine past. In particular, the mosaics at the peaceful and lovely Tomb of Galla Placida (the sister of an emperor), the Church of San Vitale, the Baptistery (Battistero Neoniano) and the Basilica of Sant’Apollinaris are among the most interesting in all of Europe. They are famous for their striking and varied colors, as well as for their symbolic meanings (Dante mentioned them in his Divine Comedy). The city produces modern mosaic artists, too, at Ravenna’s School of Mosaicists. Be sure to see Dante’s tomb, located in the Church of San Francesco. The poet spent the last years of his life in Ravenna after being driven out of Florence. For years Florence tried to acquire his remains, but Ravenna steadfastly refused. The city honors him with a literary and theatrical festival in September. Ravenna is not to be missed – work it into any trip that includes nearby Bologna, Rimini, San Marino or Urbino. 115 mi/186 km south of Venice.

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