The city of Ravenna is often bypassed by travellers exploring Italy by train. It is remote from Italy’s high-speed rail network, tucked away on a web of branch lines that serve the Adriatic coast north of Rimini. But Ravenna is too good to miss.
This small city was once the capital of the Western Roman Empire. Ravenna thus held sway over territories that extended around the entire western part of the Mediterranean. Ravenna’s stock has fallen but it is still as lovely as ever. Its stunning array of Byzantine mosaics have secured for Ravenna a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Life in Ravenna revolves around the Piazza del Popolo which oozes Venetian style. Being a little off the beaten track, Ravenna is often good value, and it’s a great spot to hole up for a day or two as part of a longer tour of Italy.
The highlight of the day at Ravenna’s railway station is the arrival each evening of the direct train from Rome. It is Ravenna’s one concession to long-distance travel. That daily Frecciabianca service from Rome takes just over four hours.
There is, however, a very good choice of local trains from Ravenna. There are twenty trains a day to Bologna, where you can connect onto Italy’s high-speed network. Regular trains run down the coast to Rimini and on weekdays there’s even the occasional direct (but very slow) train to Florence. This all makes Ravenna sound like the end of the world. In fact, it’s perfectly possible to travel from London to Ravenna in a day (with changes of train in Paris, Milan and Bologna). The journey takes 14 hours.
Travel to Ravenna by train from anywhere in the UK or across Europe
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