Discover what to do in Ravenna like a local in 10 moves. Here are our suggestions for visiting the city of mosaics beyond the mosaics.   

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A city moulded through layers of artistic styles and historical events. Quiet yet bustling, suspended amid the treasures of its UNESCO heritage, the summer nightlife of the seaside resorts nearby, the cumbersome Romagna tradition and the street art that has made it, once again, an art capital.

It's a young, fun and contemporary destination.

Find out what to do in Ravenna like a local with our tips.

Ravenna like a Local

Ravenna like a local

What to do in Ravenna like a local? We are giving you some tips to enrich your holiday in such a warm city!

Warm are the colours of its churches and millenary mausoleums. And warm are the people who live there.

It's a passionate, refined town with so many faces. 

You can discover the fabulous World Heritage mosaics and launch yourself into a fun treasure hunt along the art thread. Enjoy a piadina (in Ravenna, they made it thicker and broader) and head for the beach.

Meet the new, fresh and dynamic face of the Darsena district and, when the sun goes down, have an evening of dancing or visit the museums open until late.

Here are our recommendations to experience Ravenna with a local touch.

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10. Ravenna like a local. Having a picnic in the park

 Ravenna like a local. Having a picnic in the park

Expansive lawns and centuries-old trees surround Parco Primo Maggio

This lush green park is a favourite among the locals, especially during warm sunny days. 

It features a large equipped area with tables, barbecue stations, and playgrounds for the children.

You'll probably bump into people having an impromptu picnic, jogging, cycling around, or even going mushroom hunting.

The park is located within the Classe Pinewood, a green lung included in the Po Delta Park. A series of marked trails run through it, leading to some truly hidden gems, such as the grove of oaks that Dante described in Purgatorio's Canto XXVIII  . 

Other paths head to areas of high natural interest, such as the Ortano and Ortazzino oases or the mouth of Torrente Bevano.

Have you ever wanted to explore a city like the protagonists of a 1970s video game? If so, Ravenna has an unusual and exciting experience for you.

 It's not a very local activity, but how can you resist?

A platoon of pixelated little monsters inspired by the 1978 Japanese video game Space Invaders appeared in the streets of Ravenna during two 'waves' in 2014 and 2015. French artist Invader created the mini-mosaics that are now part of the urban fabric.

Trying to capture them all for an out-of-the-box visit to Ravenna will be like taking part in an unusual treasure hunt.

All you need to do is download the FlashInvaders app and photograph the works you manage to spot. Each shot, also shown in real-time on the official website, earns you points.

Some mosaics are easy to identify, while others are camouflaged among the city's colours, so keep your eyes peeled! Best of luck on your adventure!

8. Cycling on the Darsena

The best way to visit Ravenna like a local is on foot or by bicycle

The city has a well-developed network of cycle paths that make it easy for visitors to explore the historic centre and nearby seaside resorts in an environmentally friendly way. 

While the churches, mausoleums, and mosaics are undeniably impressive, it's worth taking the time to explore the more peripheral and popular areas, too. You'll find a wealth of modern and pop art to admire.

Art has always been a red thread linking the history of a stratified city like Ravenna. One of the best places to experience its contemporary guise is the Darsena district—no mosaic tesserae here, but building façades as canvases to imprint sensations, moods, and stories.

Street art has made this neighbourhood a hotbed of ideas and culture, one of the coolest in Ravenna. With the old buildings redeveloped and transformed into trendy clubs, the port area is now the stylish hangout par excellence. At sunset, amidst industrial archaeology, murals and plays of light, it's a natural magnet for tourists and locals.

7. Visiting an hanging garden

Visit Ravenna like a local by exploring the cloisters and gardens that colour the ancient capital of Byzantine art.

Among the most beautiful and popular with locals are the fairy-tale hanging gardens enclosed in the antique property of a wealthy local family, the Rasponi. 

The site is just a stone's throw away from Ravenna's other iconic monuments, Dante's tomb and the Basilica of San Francesco. This small park embellishes the neo-romantic Palazzo della Provincia, which was built on the site of an 18th-century residence destroyed in a fire set by fascist squads in 1922.

It's a small, fragrant and colourful city corner adorned with a pretty fountain and a neo-Gothic lofty tower from the 19th century. The complex includes the Rasponi family chapel, a three-room crypt whose centrepiece is undoubtedly the mosaic floor, probably a part of the vanished 6th-century AD church of San Severo.

6. Taking a dip

In Ravenna like a local: taking a dip

Visit the UNESCO heritage monuments, and then take a refreshing dip in one of the nearby beaches stretching for 35 kilometres along the coastline. Some parts are still adorned with beautiful pine forests that once covered the entire Ravenna coast.

The city includes nine seaside resorts not far from the centre: Marina Romea, Casalborsetti, Marina di Ravenna, Porto Corsini, Punta Marina Terme, Lido Adriano, Lido di Dante, Lido di Classe and Lido di Savio.ù

They all have much to offer: lazy relaxation on the shore, sports, sea-view activities, and good food. Bathing establishments and nightclubs fill up with life during the summer months. 

Moving inland, you'll also find a large, child-friendly water park in Monselice, an ideal spot for a fun escape with the whole family. 

Get your ticket for the Acquajoss water park

5. Strolling at night

Ravenna like a local: strolling at night

Going out at night and having fun in Ravenna like a local means experiencing a city that knows how to have a good time.

The historic centre is crammed with cocktail bars, restaurants, and shops that go full blast until late at night

Piazza del Popolo, Piazza San Francesco, Piazza Kennedy, Piazza Unità d'Italia, Viale Farini, and the arcades of Via Armando Diaz are teeming with cafés and bistros perfect for spending the evening enjoying a good drink and tasting the rich, tasty local cuisine. 

If you are looking for something more upbeat, Marina di Ravenna is the place to be. The nightclubs are some of the most popular on the Romagna Riviera and offer a lively atmosphere with DJ sets and international vibes. 

Needless to say, the best entertainment is reserved for summer. The schedule includes the Ravenna Festival (June and July) and the Mosaic Night initiative (July and August), with museums and monuments open until late.

4. Listening to a reading from Dante

Dante spent the last years of his life in Ravenna, where he found refuge at the court of Guido Novello da Polenta. It's the place where the celebrated Sommo Poeta completed the Divine Comedy before his death occurred in 1321.

The traces left by the father of the Italian language draw an itinerary through locations that, in some cases, have left a well-defined mark on the collective imagination. For example, the Prima Classe pine forest inspired the Earthly Paradise described in his Purgatory.  

Ravenna has dedicated to Dante an entire museum housed in the monumental complex of the Ancient Franciscan Cloisters. The poet's tomb is located nearby in a small neoclassical building dating back to the 18th century. 

Visitors can pay homage to one of Italy's greatest literary figures every day. From April to October, at 6 p.m., and from November to March, at 5.00 p.m., you can listen to the reading of a Canto from Dante's Divine Comey. It's Ravenna's perpetual tribute (the idea is never to interrupt the tradition) to an author it loved deeply.

3. What to do in Ravenna like a local: wandering around markets

Shop in Ravenna like a local among local products, vintage items and an immersion in the most authentic taste of Emilia Romagna tradition.

The first stop is Mercato Coperto, an innovative meeting place and a paradise for gourmets featuring a restaurant and many shops where you can buy fresh pasta, freshly baked bread and quality local gastronomy. 

Next, take a tour of the street markets in Piazza Zaccagnini and Piazza Andra Costa (on Wednesday and Saturday mornings) and in Piazza Medaglie d'Oro (on Fridays).

If you happen to be in Ravenna during the third weekend of the month, you should definitely check out the antiques and crafts market, which takes place in the most beautiful streets of the city. Also, have a look at the exhibition dedicated to hobbyists and creatives taking place on Fridays from June to September and on the first weekend of each month from October to May. 

For a different kind of shopping experience, head to the Darsena neighbourhood and its varied flea market held once a month on Sundays.

If you're interested in buying zero-kilometre products directly from local growers, keep an eye out for the farmers' markets in Piazza della Resistenza and Viale Farini, as well as the Biomarché of organic producers in Piazza San Francesco on Tuesday afternoons.

2. A day trip amid spectacular ancient villages and amusement parks

Ravenna like a local. A day trip amid spectacular ancient villages and amusement parks

Brisighella stands out as one of the most picturesque spots in the Ravenna province.

Renowned as the 'village of the three hills', it charms visitors with its medieval ambience, featuring a maze of streets lined with scenic balconies, quaint neighbourhood churches, historic palaces, and hidden gems like Via degli Asini, an unusual elevated street adorned with a sequence of charming arched windows.

Highlights include the Manfrediana Fortress, the Clock Tower, and the Monticino Sanctuary. After soaking in its most precious monuments, take a stroll in the old town to spot some intriguing restaurants and sample the renowned Brisighella olive oil.

The region's typical vistas, with the silhouettes of tall towers rising amidst green hills like illustrations from a fairy tale book, can be so fascinating for children. Nevertheless, if you want to thrill them, then Mirabilandia, the large amusement park just a short distance from Ravenna, is the destination to aim for.

Find something your children will love while in Ravenna

1. Tasting Ravenna's most famous street food

Ravenna like a local. Tasting Ravenna's most famous street food

Homemade fresh pasta: a classic of Romagna cuisine. Cappelletti, strozzapreti, passatelli, and maltagliati are all must-tries.

Anyway, for a quicker and more casual meal, the undisputed queen is piadina. The region's most famous street food is slightly different from the norm in its Ravenna packaging. It's actually a bit "taller" here than in other cities, but otherwise, the recipe remains true to tradition.

Kiosks scattered along the city centre streets prepare yours on the spot, stuffing it as you like: cold cuts, various kinds of cheese, Nutella, or caramelized figs.

Another street food to savour as an informal snack before leaving Ravenna is crescione—a different take on piadina. 

Are you in town between March 22nd and 24th? Make sure to swing by Teodorico Park for the first edition of the local street cuisine festival. There will be numerous food trucks offering a variety of tasty specialities, so you can indulge in all your favourite street foods in one place.

In love with Emilia Romagna food? Have a look here

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