Ravenna: a dream town. As a child, I was taken there many times, as many of the children attending the elementary school. At that time I realize that as Italian, I had a unique chance that nobody else has: learn history in the places history was created.
But this time I will start my story from another point of view: the beach. Summer is a past memory by now, but still, gives space and time to breath the fresh air of the sea, listening to the seagulls and watching the Fishman, while preparing their fishing tackle.
The slow pace at the beach: Marina di Ravenna
Casal Borsetti and Marina di Ravenna are two little villages north of Ravenna. Both with a harbor. The first one hosts the big cruise ships that stops here coming from Venice. Along the road, you find small shipyards and shops dedicated to what Fishman, skipper, sailor man and similar need to go by boat.
This is a slightly foggy morning. And we go by bike until the end of the wharf of Marina di Ravenna. In summer this place lives an over all party atmosphere. The bathhouses along the beach can offer you good food, a nice place to rest and take the sun and, in the night, the right, exciting atmosphere to have your best time, meet friends and enjoy life.
Today, I enjoy my slow pace. The “casoni di Pesca” (fishing houses) of the wharf have a special light, the one of the early morning when the sea is almost whispering its good morning.
It’s nice to stop here, breath the salty fresh air and stay, enjoy the time, enjoy the nostalgic light of the morning and watch.
If you like going by bike and then walk, this can be the best place. Many people go for Nordic walking or just bike along the coast, stopping for a coffee in one of the nice bars you can find around.
From the seaside to Ravenna
Crossing the pinewood, you can stop to see the ancient war bunker, built in the Second World War by the German Army to protect the coast and the villages from the Allies Army invasion. (For a special tour, link here https://bit.ly/2rg727I)
Ravenna is there, not so far away. What we see is very much different from what we know about this historic town, cross point of the whole Italian history.
We arrive at the harbor where the Candiano Channel goes along the huge warehouses until the sea. Once, this area was very degraded and dangerous. No one dared to walk here at night. A very important urban regeneration project designed some years ago created this new space. A cozy area to stay, play sport, eat and drink and have fun.
In this space, we met Rosella, a fascinating, strong woman, who reinvented herself as a chef. Her cooking school is a place to learn tradition dishes but also to learn about the culture and history of food.
Our lunch was really a comforting moment: a dish of real hand made cappelletti with a real meat ragu made by Rosella, with a nice local wine and her storytelling to explain the history of this pasta.
The right energy we needed to bike to the center of Ravenna and visit some of the most important monuments: the San Vitale Church and Galla Placidia ending our tour in Piazza San Francesco where Dante’s grave is.
It’s Sunday and the center town of Ravenna is quite alive. People walking slow and doing their shopping or having a break in Piazza Del Popolo, the main square and the meeting point of young people.
Here we met the magical shop of Anna Fietta. She is one of the most famous mosaic makers in town. A gentle, welcoming woman who created a school of mosaic in her shop. At any time of the year, you can stop and see her working or just learn how to manage this ancient technique which made Ravenna so famous in the world.
Ravenna is a welcoming town, rich of things to see and to do. A wonderful place to stop at and a base to visit Romagna! Enjoy!
Disclosure: This tour is a part of Slow Bike Tourism itineraries. If you want to visit Emilia Romagna by bike, please check www.slowbiketourism.com