Ravenna + Unesco, two decades of love


Ravenna + Unesco, two decades of love

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

On 7th December, that would be tomorrow, Ravenna is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the inscription of eight of its monuments on the List of World Heritage Sites. In fact, twenty years ago, precisely on 7th December 1996, the Assembly of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre gathered and after a “secret” council established that the early Christian and Byzantine monuments of Ravenna (and the mosaics they preserved) were of paramount importance for the European culture, and therefore they were awarded with such an important status.

Since then, the basilica of San Vitale, mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Arian and Neonian Baptisteries, the basilicas of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo and in Classe, St Andrews Chapel and mausoleum of Theoderic have not only been considered as Ravenna’s exclusive Heritage, but as treasures for humankind and future generations.


Ravenna and its eight UNESCO monuments

Since I’ve been living in Ravenna for 16 years, this comes as a very pleasant music for my ears.
First of all, because of professional reasons: as I’m a former archaeology student, everything that deals with history, antiques, remains and mosaics brings me to a sort of nirvana.
Then, there is a romantic (and very well hidden) side of me that emerges when I’m in front of love stories like this.
Last, when people talk about anniversaries, it means that there is something special and long-lasting to celebrate, and if there is something to celebrate, somebody has to throw a party. That’s the way it works!

Ravenna’s citizens seem to be pretty aware of that, in fact from Wednesday 7 to Sunday 11 December a full calendar of guided tours, concerts and music events are completing this festive scenario.

To break the ice, a lectio magistralis by Professor Giuliano Volpe on the value of Italy’s Cultural Heritage, with its historical and artistic artworks. Save the date: Wednesday afternoon at 4pm, Palazzo Rasponi dalle Teste.

On the following days the focus will be on the monuments, with free guided tours organised and led by the Young Volunteers of FAI – Italian Environment Trust association scheduled on Thursday 8 December and those by Gruppo Pietre Vive and local professional guides. Make sure you don’t miss the music animations and invasions that will turn the solemnity of the monuments into a unique welcoming atmosphere.


Basilica of San Vitale, detail of the mosaics (VI cent. A.D.)

…and let’s not forget about the forthcoming winter holiday and the first winter break on 8th December (Immaculate conception) that will pave the way for the Christmas tree switch on, at 5.30pm on Saturday in the central square Piazza del Popolo.

Well, from tomorrow Ravenna will shine even brighter and citizens and tourists alike will have the chance to re-discover the artistic and historical treasures that Ravenna has jealously been preserving for all this centuries.

That’s a “don’t miss” event, once of those that are unique, because anniversaries must be celebrated properly, as my grandma sais, not for what they represent, but because they’re a legit excuse to get together!


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Davide Marino was born archaeologist but ended up doing other things. Rational – but not methodic, slow – but passionate. A young enthusiast with grey hair

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