18 Facts About Ravenna


Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy.

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Some have speculated that "Ravenna" is related to "Rasenna", the term that the Etruscans used for themselves, but there is no agreement on this point.

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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.

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Nowadays the city is landlocked, but Ravenna remained an important seaport on the Adriatic until the early Middle Ages.

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The transfer was made partly for defensive purposes: Ravenna was surrounded by swamps and marshes, and was perceived to be easily defensible ; it is likely that the move to Ravenna was due to the city's port and good sea-borne connections to the Eastern Roman Empire.

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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.

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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 Baptistry, the misnamed Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, and San Giovanni Evangelista.

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Theodoric, following his imperial predecessors, built many splendid buildings in and around Ravenna, including his palace church Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, an Arian cathedral and Baptistery, and his own Mausoleum just outside the walls.

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In 519, when a mob had burned down the synagogues of Ravenna, Theodoric ordered the town to rebuild them at its own expense.

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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.

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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the Archdiocese of Ravenna was temporarily granted autocephaly from the Roman Church by the emperor, in 666, but this was revoked.

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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.

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In 1198 Ravenna led a league of Romagna cities against the Emperor, and the Pope was able to subdue it.

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Ravenna was ruled by Venice until 1509, when the area was invaded in the course of the Italian Wars.

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Ravenna was known during the Renaissance as the birthplace of the Monster of Ravenna.

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Apart from another short occupation by Venice, Ravenna was part of the Papal States until 1796, when it was annexed to the French puppet state of the Cisalpine Republic, .

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Freeways crossing Ravenna include: A14-bis from the hub of Bologna; on the north–south axis of EU routes E45 and E55 ; and on the regional Ferrara-Rimini axis of SS-16 .

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Beaches of Ravenna hosted the 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, in September 2011.

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