Discover what to do in Ravenna like a local in 7 moves. Here are our suggestions for visiting the city of mosaics... beyond the mosaics.   

tickets banner

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.

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? Here we give you some tips to enrich your holiday in a warm city. Warm like either the colours of its churches and millenary mausoleums and the people who live there. A passionate, refined town with 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.

Or discover the new, fresh and dynamic face of the working-class and industrial buildings in the Darsena district and, when the sun goes down, have an evening of dancing and museums open until late. Here is what we suggest you do to experience Ravenna with a local touch.

7. Hunting monsters

Walk around the city like the protagonists of a 1970s video game. This is an unusual and fun experience you can have in Ravenna. All right, it's probably not a very 'local' activity, but how can you resist?

And after all, the mini-mosaics scattered around the city centre streets, creations by the popular French artist Invader, are now part of the urban fabric.

The pixelated little monsters, inspired by the 1978 Japanese video game Space Invaders, appeared in Ravenna in two 'waves' (as their creator calls them) in 2014 and 2015. 

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 have 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. 

Look around carefully: some are clearly identifiable, and others are camouflaged among the city's colours. Good luck!

6. Cycling on the Darsena

The best way to visit Ravenna like a local is on foot or by bicycle. The city boasts a dense and functional network of cycle paths that allow you to get around the historic centre and nearby seaside resorts in a slow and eco-friendly way. 

Churches, mausoleums and mosaics are precious sights everyone queues up to admire. Do it yourself, too, and then move to more peripheral and popular areas to soak into other art forms, modern and pop.

And if art has always been a red thread linking the history of a stratified city like Ravenna, you can admire it in its most contemporary guise around the Darsena district. No mosaic tesserae, 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. And at sunset, amidst industrial archaeology, murals and plays of light, it's a natural magnet.

5. 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 former property of the Rasponi family. 

They are just a stone's throw away from Ravenna's other iconic monuments, Dante's tomb and the Basilica of San Francesco. The small park embellishes the neo-romantic Palazzo della Provincia, built on the site of an older residence dating back to the 18th century and 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, accessed from Piazza San Francesco through a beautiful monumental entrance, 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.

4. Taking a dip

In Ravenna like a local: taking a dip

By the sea or in a water park, you are spoilt for choice. Immerse yourself in Ravenna like a local, alternating a visit to the Unesco heritage monuments with a dip in one of the nearby beaches that line its 35 kilometres of coastline. 

Some stretches are still characterised by the great pine forest patches that once covered the entire Ravenna coastline.

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.

They all have much to offer: lazy relaxation on the shore, sports, sea-view activities, and good food. Not forgetting bathing establishments and nightclubs that fill up with life in the summer. 

Moving inland, in Monselice, in the province of Ravenna, you will also find a large child-friendly water park ideal for having fun with the whole family. 

3. Strolling at night

In 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 having a good drink and tasting the rich, tasty local cuisine. 

If you are looking for DJ sets and worldly atmospheres, the nightclubs in Marina di Ravenna are for you. Here you will find some of the most famous discos on the Romagna Riviera. 

Needless to say, the best entertainment is in Summer, including the Ravenna Festival in June and July and the Mosaic Night initiative in July and August, with museums and monuments open until late.

2. 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 pine forest of Prima Classe 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 in the vicinity. It's a small neoclassical building dating back to the 18th century that hosts the homage the citizens pay to their most illustrious guest every day.

From April to October at 6.00 p.m. and at 5.00 p.m. from November to March, 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.

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

Shop in Ravenna like a local by wandering around street markets. Among local products, vintage purchases 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. 

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

On the third weekend of each month, Ravenna's most beautiful streets host the antiques and crafts market. 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. 

In the Darsena neighbourhood, the appointment is with the varied Sunday flea market held once a month. 

If you want zero-kilometre products to buy directly from local growers, look out for the farmers' markets in Piazza della Resistenza and Viale Farini and the Biomarché of organic producers on Tuesday afternoons in Piazza San Francesco.

We recommend

We recommend