Ravenna became very prosperous and was the capital of the Western Roman Empire in 400AD. From 540 to 600, Ravenna’s bishops embarked upon a notable building program of churches in Ravenna and many of those still stand. In 476 AD, the Roman Empire declined and was taken over by the king of the Goths who inaugurated the barbaric period of the history of Ravenna until Justinian, the Byzantine emperor reconquered the area and began a crazy period of building churches and art.
We bought a combo ticket (about 15 euros adult) which gave us admission to the main buildings in Ravenna. The big draw is the1500 year old mosaics, many in pristine condition since Ravenna was practically abandoned when the seat of power left. The walls are covered with the brilliant little tiles of precious stones and gold. The walking tour for the 5 buildings took us about 2 hours which included reading about the mosaics in Rick Steves’ handy guidebook.
After our trip to the city, we drove over to the Adriatic Sea to give the kids an chance to look at the water from this side of the world. It was a cool and blustery day but the salt air and seagulls satisfied our need for a dose of the ocean.