On our way home we stopped in the town of Ravenna. This is one of the many little towns in Emilia-Romagna that we have been wanting to visit together. Others include Ferrara, Rimini, Cesena, Forli, and San Marino. San Marino is actually its own country inside or Italy, similar to the Vatican, rather than a part of Emilia-Romagna, but it is in the same area. This pretty area is characterized by small walled cities on the flat river valley of the Po’.

Being flat, bicycling is very popular in Ravenna. The small streets are shared by pedestrians and cyclists in a way more similar to Copenhagen or Amsterdam than the rest of Italy. Cars are only allowed on the bigger streets.

Ravenna holds a campus of the University of Bologna, the oldest university in Italy. And with all the students comes shops, lots of different types of food, and general culture. It also has a decent tourism industry thanks to its history and monuments. Many of these date to when it was the capital of the Western Roman Empire from 402 to 476 AD, at which point the Western Roman Empire collapsed. Later it would be absorbed by the Byzantines; who would also use it as a capital.

The biggest monument in Ravenna is the tomb of Dante, noted renaissance poet and father of Italian language. He was born in 1265 in Florence, where he lived most of his life. He died in 1321 returning to Ravenna from a diplomatic mission in Venice. He had lived his last three years in Ravenna where he finished Paradiso, the last book of his Divine Comedy.

On the drive home we made a short stop at the spring where the Tevere River starts. I was too tired to make the short hike to the spring from the road, but Daniele went up and drank from the spring. The Tevere is the river that flows through Rome before finishing in the Mediterranean, near Fiumicino Airport (FCO).

The rest of our photos from Ravenna and the spring are online here: