Two Days in Ravenna | Our Mini-Moon in Italy

Two Days in Ravenna | Our Mini-Moon in Italy

Hello, happy Thursday, friends! Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internet on this fine almost-but-not-quite Friday! I’m here this morning to share, if I may say so, a wonderful new travel guide with you: Two Days in Ravenna | Our Mini-Moon in Italy! In case you missed it, this is the second installment of my mini-moon travel series; last week I shared Three Days in Bologna, and next month I’ll be sharing the third and final post, covering all things Modena! For now, let’s talk Ravenna, shall we?

When we started mapping out where we wanted to go for our mini-moon in Italy, Ravenna was one of the early contenders. We wanted somewhere that a) had some great foodie options, b) had a light sprinkling of tourist attractions without being overwhelming, and c) would be relatively chilled out. Husband, who had visited Ravenna several years before on a solo-trip, assured me that the city ticked all of the above boxes. Spoiler alert: he was so right!

Everything I know and love about Ravenna is listed below, divided into the usual breakdown; things to know before visiting / how to get there / where we stayed / where we had coffee / where we ate lunch, dinner, and gelato / where we drank / where we tourist-ed. I truly hope you enjoy!

If you’re thinking about visiting Ravenna, here are a few things to keep in mind before you set off.

• Ravenna is super tiny, mostly flat, and extremely walkable. A dream combination, wouldn’t you agree?

• Ravenna is mostly known for its wonderful mosaic sites, eight of which are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Tickets can be bought for all spots individually, or you can do what we did & buy a combo ticket for the main five. At the time of our visit, the ticket cost €12.50 each, and was valid for 7-days.

• aside from the mosaics, there isn’t a whole lot to see and do in town. We had two full days, and I feel like we had more than enough time to see everything. If you’re looking for an action packed, attraction-heavy visit, I’d say you’d be fine with one day. Thankfully, we were on unwind-after-the-wedding mode, so the easy pace was perfect for us.

• Ravenna has some delicious food specialties, notably piadina and cappelletti. Piadina is a thin grilled flatbread that is almost like a pita, but better; it’s especially delightful hot from the grill, and is ideal for scooping up leftover pasta sauce. Cappelletti is a little stuffed pasta, similar to ravioli, except in the shape of a cappello, aka, a hat. They’re cute, delicious, and featured on basically every menu in town. Mmm, bread and pasta.

superfluous information that may or may not interest you: it’s totally possible to do a day trip from Ravenna to San Marino. If you’re interested, you need to take the train from Ravenna to Rimini, which takes 1-hour. From Rimini to San Marino, there is a Bonelli Bus service that runs several times a day between the two spots; the journey should take around 50-minutes. I really wish we’d had it in us to make the trip to San Marino, but man, weddings really take it outta you! Next time 😉

Located in the Emilia-Romagna region, Ravenna is very well connected. Here’s how we made the journey into town:

• we travelled to Ravenna from Bologna, the capital of the region. If you’re wondering how we got to Bologna from Dublin, you can grab the details in this post.

• from Bologna Centrale, we took a regional train headed in the direction of Rimini to Ravenna. The journey took 1-hour and 11-minutes, and was largely uneventful. We bought our tickets on the Trenitalia website the day before we planned to depart – which I would highly recommend! – and, one way, they cost just €4 each. The tickets arrived in my email a minute or so after purchasing, and we self checked-in online following the easy instructions in the email.

• from Ravenna train station, we strolled the 19-minute walk to our B&B, below.

Ai Giardini di San Vitale B&B // a cute, budget-friendly, well located B&B. We opted for the ‘double room with garden view’, which was nice & spacious, and had a private balcony. The bathroom was a little small – and there was a rather bizarre technique for turning on the hot water in the shower – but the room was clean and the owners were friendly. They didn’t really speak much English, but when the water issue arose and neither of them were around, they enlisted the help of a guest who spoke English to come & help us. It’s in a very good location, about a 7-minute stroll to the town centre. The breakfast was good: pastries, granola, fruits, meats etc. Added bonus: they left a bottle of bubbles in our room to congratulate us on our wedding! How sweet! Would recommend. Address: Via Don Giovanni Minzoni, 63, 48123 Ravenna

Pasticceria Veneziana // maybe the busiest spot in town? We barely managed to squeeze ourselves into an opening at the bar, but thank goodness we did – the pastries here were delicious! Along with our coffees, we shared a chocolate croissant and a kind of fancy custard & raisin Danish that was twisted into a tail shape? Both were extremely flaky and buttery, but the Danish-tail-twist-contraption was the clear winner for me! Pro tip: get there early if you want to nab a table! It was honestly jammers when we visited, and there was a slew of locals eagerly waiting behind us for our spot at the bar! Would recommend. Address: Via Salara, 15, 48121 Ravenna

Caffè Corte Cavour // a cute little courtyard cafe! Husband found this place one afternoon while I napped & he explored, and he enjoyed it so much he brought me back the next day! It’s very reasonably priced, the pastries are great – the mini apricot croissant was particularly flaky! – and the coffee is strong! Would recommend. Address: Via Camillo Benso Cavour, 51, 48121 Ravenna

Forno Pasticceria Argnani // such an amazing bakery! We walked passed here a few times, and there was ALWAYS a big queue out the door. Naturally, out for an early photo-walk one morning, we saw it sans queue & decided to see what all the fuss was about. Spoiler alert: it’s amazing! We shared a delightfully moreish crema sfoglia; it was exactly the right size for sharing, with a perfectly crunchy caramelized exterior, & a gooey custard interior. In case there’s any doubt over how I felt about said pastry: I literally started salivating writing that sentence. Would recommend. Address: Via Cairoli, 1, 48121 Ravenna

Ca’ de Vèn // the place to have lunch in Ravenna! Husband, together with his growling stomach, was researching restaurants on the train into town, and the entire internet recommends the same place: Ca’ de Vèn. Who are we to argue with the norm? We made our way here right after checking into our B&B and it was exactly what we were looking for. Between us, we devoured a generous meat antipasto board with large sides of pecorino & squacquerone cheeses; everything was delicious, but the baskets of fresh hot-from-the-griddle piadina that miraculously kept appearing tableside pushed it over the edge! We also sampled their wines by the glass – sangiovese for Husband, trebbiano for me – and both were *chef’s kiss*. A must visit. Address: Via Corrado Ricci, 24, 48121 Ravenna

Cabiria Wine Bar // another very good place for lunch! We basically ordered the same thing here as we did at the above – one meat platter + one cheese platter to share – but the meat & cheese in Italy is just too good not to eat wherever you go! If we had to compare the two spots, the piadina served here was slightly less fresh than the one above – however! They served these addictively moreish, freshly fried cracker-adjacent Sardinian crispbreads that honestly stole the whole show! They were salty rosemary delights, and we unabashedly ate two whole baskets of them. To drink, I had a local Emilia-Romagna white wine, while Husband stuck to his usual sangiovese; again, delicious. A must visit. Address: Via Filippo Mordani, 8, 48121 Ravenna

Cucina del Condominio // our favourite dinner in Ravenna! To start, we ordered two pastas: local cappelletti with ragu for Husband, ‘spaghetti chitarra‘ – a creamy cabbage/sun-dried tomato dish covered in fried breadcrumbs – for me. Both were fantastic! For mains, we shared the pork belly with roast potatoes and it was BEYOND amazing! The roasties were maybe the best of our trip, and they came coated in the gravy/juices from the pork? So delicious! Technically, we didn’t really have room for dessert, but had to order one seeing as the standard of everything was so good, you know? The waiter sold us on a white chocolate mousse with speculoos biscuit crumble, and we died and went to dessert heaven. Fantastic from beginning to end. Added bonus: including a bottle of red & two doppio espresso, the bill only came to €80! A must visit. Address: Via Guglielmo Oberdan, 36, 48121 Ravenna

Osteria dei Battibecchi // more old-school/traditional than the above, but still good! We each had pasta to start: lasagna al forno for Husband, and cappelletti with sage and butter for me; both were great, and we both think our order was better than the other’s! For mains, we shared meatballs in tomato sauce, grilled sausages, and sides of roast potatos and chicory salad, as well as the ubiquitous piadina basket. Everything was good – although, the meatballs had peas in the sauce, which we deducted a few points for – but the sausages stole the show! For comparison with the above: everything mentioned, plus a bottle of Sangiovese & two doppio espresso cost €84.50 here. Would recommend. Address: Via della Tesoreria Vecchia, 16, 48100 Ravenna

Pure and Bio Ravenna // a delicious gelateria! I went for my usual pistachio and hazelnut cup, but husband went rogue and ordered a cone with only hazelnut – both were fantastic. Added bonus: both came with a moreishly delightful little shortbread cookie smooshed on top! Would absolutely recommend. Address: Via Camillo Benso Cavour, 105, 48121 Ravenna

Fargo // the cutest little local bar! We arrived one night just in time for aperitivo hour & it was wonderful! Our little grazing board consisted of mini pizza bites, mini spinach stuffed piadina, mini fried dough balls etc., it was yum! We sampled a few different drinks – Aperol spritz, whiskey sour + margarita cocktails, Stella Artois – and everything was surprisingly great! The staff were lovely + knowledgeable, and the space was very cool in an almost-hipster-but-not-quite kind of way. Would recommend. Address: Via Girolamo Rossi, 17, 48121 Ravenna

Dante’s Spirits // a fantastic cocktail bar! Again, we arrived at aperitivo o’clock, and were treated to a little board of tortilla chips with guac, olives, and different nuts. A dream! Naturally we had to have a drink with our free snacks: I opted for a whiskey sour & Husband sampled their old fashioned. Both were so expertly made and delicious that we simply had to order a round of margaritas after to do a quality check 😉 Shock horror, they were just as amazing! Also, in case you’re wondering, our second round of drinks came with another plate of aperitivo snacks. Isn’t Italy just amazing? Pro tip: try to nab a seat at the bar so you can watch the barmen work their magic making cocktails! It was mesmerizing! A must visit. Address: Via Manfredo Fanti, 9/A, 48121 Ravenna

Obviously, the main tourist attractions in Ravenna are the famous mosaics. As I said above, we purchased a combo ticket and it was absolutely worth it. We broke our mosaic-crawl (similar to a pub-crawl, but different) into two parts, hitting the first four spots listed below in one day, and then the fifth the next day; this was more about logistics than anything else, but it was also a nice way of keeping our interest levels up. Details of everywhere we touristed – mosaic-ed or otherwise adorned – below.

Basilica di San Vitale // aka the main mosaic site in the city. Which, to be honest, I don’t really understand why? From the outside, yes, I get it! It’s absolutely stunning and very visually interesting to look at. However, inside, the church is largely unadorned, apart from one altar. Yes, the mosaic decoration on said altar is truly stunning and the colours catch the light in the most breathtaking way, but again, it’s just in one little spot. Maybe I was expecting too much? Despite this: would recommend. Address: Via San Vitale, 17, 48121 Ravenna

Mausoleo di Galla Placidia // aka Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. I was much more impressed by this than the above! The space is very small, with low lighting, giving it a rather magical quality, and the mosaics are very impressive. The Mausoleo is a little different than the rest of the spots on the mosaic-crawl, as you’re allocated a time-slot due to limited parking spaces. Seeing as the building is literally located in the garden of the time-slot-less Basilica di San Vitale above, this makes little to no sense to me, but what would Italy be without its quirks? A must visit. Address: Via San Vitale, 17, 48121 Ravenna

Battistero Neoniano // aka Baptistry of Neon. Located on the other side of town from the two spots above, but handily in the same complex as the chapel and museum below. Size-wise, it’s on the smaller side of things, but there’s a fab mosaic of Jesus being baptised in the Jordan River that is super cool. Pro tip: this is essentially right next door to the Duomo di Ravenna; why not try to hit both spots at the same time? The Duomo was closed when we visited, but we tried! Would recommend. Address: Arcivescovado, 1, 48121 Ravenna

Cappella di Sant’Andrea + Museo Arcivescovile // or the Chapel of Saint Andrew + Archbishop’s Museum. Although I don’t have any photos of the mosaics inside Sant’Andrea‘s chapel to prove my point, this was the mosaic highlight for me. Located inside the archbishop’s museum, the chapel is so tiny and easy to pass by that when we wandered into it by accident, we had it to ourselves for a solid five minutes. The light beaming in through the windows was magical and the mosaics were beautiful; it felt so secretive and sacred inside. Well, that is, until a busload of teenage schoolkids came in and ruined the atmosphere. Sigh. A must visit. Address: Arcivescovado, 1, 48121 Ravenna

Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo // the fifth and final spot on our mosaic-crawl across Ravenna! Located very conveniently near the train station, we hit up this lovely basilica on the way out of town. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but we were very pleasantly surprised when we walked inside – the mosaics are fantastic! The lighting is great, there’s a pretty courtyard area, some beautiful arches, etc. It also seemed to be a lot quieter than the other spots listed above? A must visit. Address: Via di Roma, 53, 48020 Ravenna

Dante Alighieri’s Tomb // Dante, as you may or may not know, was originally from Florence, but they exiled him way back when for some reason or other. During his exile, he travelled around, before settling and eventually dying in Ravenna, and the city has somehow managed to hold onto his remains! The tomb is at the end of a beautiful, pedestrianized, quiet street, and it seems like such a wonderful resting place. Fun fact: there is a votive lamp inside the tomb that is lit at all times with oil donated by Tuscany. Rumor has it, the Tuscan’s pay for the oil as their penance for exiling Dante! Pro tip: don’t miss the beautiful garden beside the tomb, it’s so peaceful and lovely! A must visit. Address: Via Dante Alighieri, 9, 48121 Ravenna

And there we have it: Two Days in Ravenna | Our Mini-Moon in Italy! Have you visited the city before? If no, have we made you want to? If YES, have I left anything out? Hit me up with your thoughts using the comment box below, I’d love to hear from you!

Ciao for now!

Vicki xo

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