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Ravenna ( // rə-VEN-ə, Italian: [raˈvenna] , alsolocally [raˈvɛnna] (
Although it is an inland city, Ravenna is connected to the Adriatic Sea by the Candiano Canal. It is known for its well-preserved late Roman and Byzantine architecture, with eight buildings comprising the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna".
The origin of the name Ravenna is unclear, although it is believed the name is Etruscan. [ citation needed ]Some have speculated that "ravenna" is related to "Rasenna" (later "Rasna"), the term that the Etruscans used for themselves, but there is no agreement on this point.
The origins of Ravenna are uncertain.The first settlement is variously attributed to (and then has seen the copresence of) the Thessalians, the Etruscans and the Umbrians. Afterwards its territory was settled also by the Senones, especially the southern countryside of the city (that wasn't part of the lagoon), the Ager Decimanus. Ravenna consisted of houses built on piles on a series of small islands in a marshy lagoon – a situation similar to Venice several centuries later. The Romans ignored it during their conquest of the Po River Delta, but later accepted it into the Roman Republic as a federated town in 89 BC. In 49 BC, it was the location where Julius Caesar gathered his forces before crossing the Rubicon. Later, after his battle against Mark Antony in 31 BC, Emperor Augustus founded the military harbor of Classe. This harbor, protected at first by its own walls, was an important station of the Roman Imperial Fleet. Nowadays the city is landlocked, but Ravenna remained an important seaport on the Adriatic until the early Middle Ages. During the Germanic campaigns, Thusnelda, widow of Arminius, and Marbod, King of the Marcomanni, were confined at Ravenna.
Ravenna greatly prospered under Roman rule. Emperor Trajan built a 70 km (43.50 mi) long aqueduct at the beginning of the 2nd century. During the Marcomannic Wars, Germanic settlers in Ravenna revolted and managed to seize possession of the city. For this reason, Marcus Aurelius decided not only against bringing more barbarians into Italy, but even banished those who had previously been brought there. In AD 402, Emperor Honorius transferred the capital of the Western Roman Empire from Milan to Ravenna. At that time it was home to 50,000 people. The transfer was made partly for defensive purposes: Ravenna was surrounded by swamps and marshes, and was perceived to be easily defensible (although in fact the city fell to opposing forces numerous times in its history); it is also likely that the move to Ravenna was due to the city's port and good sea-borne connections to the Eastern Roman Empire. However, in 409, King Alaric I of the Visigoths simply bypassed Ravenna, and went on to sack Rome in 410 and to take Galla Placidia, daughter of Emperor Theodosius I, hostage. After many vicissitudes, Galla Placidia returned to Ravenna with her son, Emperor Valentinian III, due to the support of her nephew Theodosius II. Ravenna enjoyed a period of peace, during which time the Christian religion was favoured by the imperial court, and the city gained some of its most famous monuments, including the Orthodox Baptistery, the misnamed Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (she was not actually buried there), and San Giovanni Evangelista.
The late 5th century saw the dissolution of Roman authority in the west, and the last person to hold the title of emperor in the West was deposed in 476 by the general Odoacer. Odoacer ruled as King of Italy for 13 years, but in 489 the Eastern Emperor Zeno sent the Ostrogoth King Theodoric the Great to re-take the Italian peninsula. After losing the Battle of Verona, Odoacer retreated to Ravenna, where he withstood a siege of three years by Theodoric, until the taking of Rimini deprived Ravenna of supplies. Theodoric took Ravenna in 493, supposedly slew Odoacer with his own hands, and Ravenna became the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy. Theodoric, following his imperial predecessors, also built many splendid buildings in and around Ravenna, including his palace church Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, an Arian cathedral (now Santo Spirito) and Baptistery, and his own Mausoleum just outside the walls.
Both Odoacer and Theodoric and their followers were Arian Christians, but co-existed peacefully with the Latins, who were largely Catholic Orthodox. Ravenna's Orthodox bishops carried out notable building projects, of which the sole surviving one is the Capella Arcivescovile. Theodoric allowed Roman citizens within his kingdom to be subject to Roman law and the Roman judicial system. The Goths, meanwhile, lived under their own laws and customs. In 519, when a mob had burned down the synagogues of Ravenna, Theodoric ordered the town to rebuild them at its own expense.
Theodoric died in 526 and was succeeded by his young grandson Athalaric under the authority of his daughter Amalasunta, but by 535 both were dead and Theodoric's line was represented only by Amalasuntha's daughter Matasuntha. Various Ostrogothic military leaders took the Kingdom of Italy, but none were as successful as Theodoric had been. Meanwhile, the orthodox Christian Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, opposed both Ostrogoth rule and the Arian variety of Christianity. In 535 his general Belisarius invaded Italy and in 540 conquered Ravenna. After the conquest of Italy was completed in 554, Ravenna became the seat of Byzantine government in Italy.
From 540 to 600, Ravenna's bishops embarked upon a notable building program of churches in Ravenna and in and around the port city of Classe. Surviving monuments include the Basilica of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe, as well as the partially surviving San Michele in Africisco.
Following the conquests of Belisarius for the Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century, Ravenna became the seat of the Byzantine governor of Italy, the Exarch, and was known as the Exarchate of Ravenna. It was at this time that the Ravenna Cosmography was written.
Under Byzantine rule, the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Ravenna was temporarily granted autocephaly from the Roman Church by the emperor, in 666, but this was soon revoked. Nevertheless, the archbishop of Ravenna held the second place in Italy after the pope, and played an important role in many theological controversies during this period.
The Lombards, under King Liutprand, occupied Ravenna in 712, but were forced to return it to the Byzantines.However, in 751 the Lombard king, Aistulf, succeeded in conquering Ravenna, thus ending Byzantine rule in northern Italy.
King Pepin of the Franks attacked the Lombards under orders of Pope Stephen II. Ravenna then gradually came under the direct authority of the Popes, although this was contested by the archbishops at various times. Pope Adrian I authorized Charlemagne to take away anything from Ravenna that he liked, and an unknown quantity of Roman columns, mosaics, statues, and other portable items were taken north to enrich his capital of Aachen.
In 1198 Ravenna led a league of Romagna cities against the Emperor, and the Pope was able to subdue it. After the war of 1218 the Traversari family was able to impose its rule in the city, which lasted until 1240. After a short period under an Imperial vicar, Ravenna was returned to the Papal States in 1248 and again to the Traversari until, in 1275, the Da Polenta established their long-lasting seigniory. One of the most illustrious residents of Ravenna at this time was the exiled poet Dante. The last of the Da Polenta, Ostasio III, was ousted by the Republic of Venice in 1440, and the city was annexed to the Venetian territories in the Treaty of Cremona.
Ravenna was ruled by Venice until 1509, when the area was invaded in the course of the Italian Wars. In 1512, during the Holy League wars, Ravenna was sacked by the French following the Battle of Ravenna. Ravenna was also known during the Renaissance as the birthplace of the Monster of Ravenna.
After the Venetian withdrawal, Ravenna was again ruled by legates of the Pope as part of the Papal States. The city was damaged in a tremendous flood in May 1636. Over the next 300 years, a network of canals diverted nearby rivers and drained nearby swamps, thus reducing the possibility of flooding and creating a large belt of agricultural land around the city.
Apart from another short occupation by Venice (1527–1529), Ravenna was part of the Papal States until 1796, when it was annexed to the French puppet state of the Cisalpine Republic, (Italian Republic from 1802, and Kingdom of Italy from 1805). It was returned to the Papal States in 1814. Occupied by Piedmontese troops in 1859, Ravenna and the surrounding Romagna area became part of the new unified Kingdom of Italy in 1861. During World War II, troops of the British 27th Lancers entered and occupied Ravenna on 5 December 1944. A total of 937 Commonwealth soldiers who died in the winter of 1944-45 are buried in Ravenna War Cemetery, including 438 Canadians. <https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/second-world-war/canada-Italy-1943-to-1945> The town suffered very little damage.
Eight early Christian monuments of Ravenna are inscribed on the World Heritage List. These are
Other attractions include:
The city annually hosts the Ravenna Festival, one of Italy's prominent classical music gatherings. Opera performances are held at the Teatro Alighieri while concerts take place at the Palazzo Mauro de André as well as in the ancient Basilica of San Vitale and Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe. Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Riccardo Muti, a longtime resident of the city, regularly participates in the festival, which invites orchestras and other performers from around the world.
Michelangelo Antonioni filmed his 1964 movie Red Desert (Deserto Rosso) within the industrialised areas of the Pialassa valley within the city limits.
Ravenna has an important commercial and tourist port.
Ravenna railway station has direct Trenitalia service to Bologna, Ferrara, Lecce, Milan, Parma, Rimini, and Verona.
Ravenna Airport is located in Ravenna. The nearest commercial airports are those of Forlì, Rimini and Bologna.
Freeways crossing Ravenna include: A14-bis from the hub of Bologna; on the north-south axis of EU routes E45 (from Rome) and E55 (SS-309 "Romea" from Venice); and on the regional Ferrara-Rimini axis of SS-16 (partially called "Adriatica").
Ravenna is twinned with:
The historical Italian football of the city is Ravenna F.C. Currently it plays in the third league of Italian football, commonly known as "Serie C".
A.P.D. Ribelle 1927 is the Italian football of Castiglione di Ravenna, a fraction of Ravenna and was founded in 1927. Currently it plays in Italy's Serie D after promotion from Eccellenza Emilia-Romagna Girone B in the 2013-14 season.
The president is Marcello Missiroli and the manager is Enrico Zaccaroni.
Its home ground is Stadio Massimo Sbrighi of the fraction with 1,000 seats. The team's colors are white and blue.
The beaches of Ravenna hosted the 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, in September 2011.
Theodoric the Great, also spelled Theoderic or called Theodoric the Amal, was king of the Ostrogoths (471–526), and ruler of the independent Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy between 493–526, regent of the Visigoths (511–526), and a patrician of the Roman Empire. As ruler of the combined Gothic realms, Theodoric controlled an empire stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Adriatic Sea.
Flavius Odoacer ( OH-doh-AY-sər;, also known as Flavius Odovacer or Odovacar, was a barbarian statesman who deposed Romulus Augustus and became King of Italy. His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire.
Romagna is an Italian historical region that approximately corresponds to the south-eastern portion of present-day Emilia-Romagna, North Italy. Traditionally, it is limited by the Apennines to the south-west, the Adriatic to the east, and the rivers Reno and Sillaro to the north and west. The region's major cities include Cesena, Faenza, Forlì, Imola, Ravenna, Rimini and City of San Marino. The region has been recently formally expanded with the transfer of seven comuni from the Marche region, which are a small number of comuni where Romagnolo dialect is spoken.
See also: 5th century in architecture, 7th century in architecture and the architecture timeline.
The province of Ravenna is a province in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Ravenna. As of 2015, it has a population of 391,997 inhabitants over an area of 1,859.44 square kilometres (717.93 sq mi), giving it a population density of 210.81 inhabitants per square kilometre. Its provincial president is Claudio Casadio.
The history of the Italian peninsula during the medieval period can be roughly defined as the time between the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and the Italian Renaissance.
The Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo is a basilica church in Ravenna, Italy. It was erected by the Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great as his palace chapel during the first quarter of the 6th century. This Arian church was originally dedicated in 504 AD to "Christ the Redeemer".
Apollinaris of Ravenna is a Syrian saint, whom the Roman Martyrology describes as "a bishop who, according to tradition, while spreading among the nations the unsearchable riches of Christ, led his flock as a good shepherd and honoured the Church of Classis near Ravenna by a glorious martyrdom."
The Basilica of Sant' Apollinare in Classe is an important monument of Byzantine art near Ravenna, Italy. When the UNESCO inscribed eight Ravenna sites on the World Heritage List, it cited this basilica as "an outstanding example of the early Christian basilica in its purity and simplicity of its design and use of space and in the sumptuous nature of its decoration".
The Ostrogothic Kingdom, officially the Kingdom of Italy, was established by the Ostrogoths in Italy and neighbouring areas from 493 to 553.
Maximianus of Ravenna, or Maximian was bishop of Ravenna in Italy. Ravenna was then the capital of the Byzantine Empire's territories in Italy, and Maximianus's role may have included secular political functions.
Emilia is a historic region of northern Italy, which approximately corresponds to the western and north-eastern portions of the modern region Emilia-Romagna, with the area of Romagna forming the remainder of the modern region.
In the Byzantine Empire, the Duchy of the Pentapolis was a duchy, a territory ruled by a duke (dux) appointed by and under the authority of the Praetorian Prefect of Italy (554–584) and then the Exarch of Ravenna (584–751). The Pentapolis consisted of the cities of Ancona, Fano, Pesaro, Rimini and Sinigaglia. It lay along the Adriatic coast between the rivers Marecchia and Misco immediately south of the core territory of the exarchate ruled directly by the exarch, east of the Duchy of Perugia, another Byzantine territory, and north of the Duchy of Spoleto, which was part of the Lombard Kingdom of Italy. The duchy probably extended inland as far as the Apennine Mountains, perhaps beyond, and its southernmost town was Humana (Numera) on the northern bank of the Misco. The capital of the Pentapolis was Rimini and the duke was both the civil and military authority in the duchy.
The Archiepiscopal Museum is located in Ravenna, Italy, next to the Baptistry of Neon and behind the Duomo of Ravenna. In the museum relics of early Christian Ravenna are preserved, including fragments of mosaic from the first cathedral church, and the chapel of Sant'Andrea, dating from the Gothic kingdom.
Italy has the richest concentration of Late Antique and medieval mosaics in the world. Although the art style is especially associated with Byzantine art and many Italian mosaics were probably made by imported Greek-speaking artists and craftsmen, there are surprisingly few significant mosaics remaining in the core Byzantine territories. This is especially true before the Byzantine Iconoclasm of the 8th century.
Classe was a commercial port located 4 km (2.5 mi) east south east from Ravenna, Italy. It was near the head of the Adriatic coast. For almost five hundred years it was an important strategic military port. When it was not being used as a military port, it was an important commercial port for the imperial capital of Ravenna in the Roman Empire. Classe comes from the Latin word classis, meaning fleet.
Ostrogothic Ravenna refers to the time period in which Ravenna was the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy. Ravenna is a city in Northeastern Italy that served as the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom, which existed between 493 and 553 CE. During that time, Ravenna saw a great renovation, in particular under Theodoric the Great (454–526). During his rule, Ravenna saw many of its finest monuments constructed or renovated, including the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, the Palace of Theoderic, and Mausoleum of Theodoric. Many of these monuments reflected Theodoric's, as well as the Goths as a people, religion of Arian Christianity. Though an Arian Christian himself, Theodoric's rule was a time of religious tolerance in the city of Ravenna. His religious tolerance extended also to forging a balance between the Romans and Goths in Ravenna. Theodoric attempted to model Ravenna as a capital equivalent to that of Rome or Constantinople and as such was a defender of classical antiquity in a western world that saw much of its classical heritage disappearing.
The Traversari are a noble Italian family. The dynasty's history was mostly connected to Ravenna, which it ruled between the 12th and 13th centuries. St. Romuald was the son of Duke Sergio degli Onesti of Ravenna and of Traversara Traversari, daughter of Teodoro Traversari, son of Paolo I Traversari.
Byzantine mosaics are mosaics produced from the 4th to 15th centuries in and under the influence of the Byzantine Empire. Mosaics were some of the most popular and historically significant art forms produced in the empire, and they are still studied extensively by art historians. Although Byzantine mosaics evolved out of earlier Hellenistic and Roman practices and styles, craftspeople within the Byzantine Empire made important technical advances and developed mosaic art into a unique and powerful form of personal and religious expression that exerted significant influence on Islamic art produced in Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates and the Ottoman Empire. In addition, Byzantine mosaics went on to influence artists in the Norman Kingdom of Sicily, in the Republic of Venice, and, carried by the spread of Orthodox Christianity, in Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania and Russia. In the modern era, artists across the world have drawn inspiration from their focus on simplicity and symbolism, as well as their beauty.
The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.