Ravenna’s (pop. 130,000) 15 minutes of historical fame came and went 14 centuries ago, when Justinian and Theodora, rulers of the Byzantine Empire, headquartered their campaign to restore order in the anarchic west here. Take V. Argentario from V. Cavour to reach the 6th-century EBasilica di San Vitale, V.S. Vitale 17. An open courtyard overgrown with greenery leads to the brilliant, glowing mosaics inside; those of the Emperor and Empress adorn the lower left and right panels of the apse. Behind S. Vitale, the city’s oldest and most intriguing mosaics cover the glittering interior of the Mausoleo di Galla Placidia. ( 0544 21 62 92. Open Apr.- Sept. daily 9am-7pm; Oct.-Mar. 9:30am-5:30pm.) Take bus #4 or 44 across from the train station (‚0.70) to Classe, south of the city, to see the astounding mosaics at the GChiesa di Sant’Apollinare. (Open M-Sa 8:30am-7:30pm, Su 9am-lpm. ‚2. Su free.) Much to Florence’s dismay, Ravenna is also home to the Tomb of Dante Alighieri. In the adjoining Dante Museum, his heaven and hell come alive in etchings, paintings, and sculptures. From P. del Popolo, cut through P. Garibaldi to V. Alighieri. ( 0544 302 52. Tomb open daily 9am-7pm. Free. Museum open Apr.-Sept. Su and Tu-Sa 9am-noon and 3:30-6pm; Oct.-Mar. reduced hours. ‚2.)

Trains l’0544 21 78 84) leave P. Farini for Ferrara (lhr. every hr. ‚4) and Bologna (lhr. every l-2hr. ‚4). Follow V. Farini from the station to V. Diaz, which runs to the central P. del Popolo and the tourist office, V. Salara 8. (0544 354 04. Open Apr.-Sept. M-Sa 8:30am-7pm, Su 10am-4pm; Oct.-Mar. reduced hours.) Take bus #1 or 70 from V. Pallavicini at the train station (1-4 per hr. ‚0.70) to reach Ostello Dante (HI) O, V. Nicolodi 12. (fax 0544 42 11 64. Breakfast included. Reception 7-10am and 5-11:30pm. Lockout 10am-5pm. Curfew 11:30pm. Dorms ‚13. MCA’.) Walk down V. Farini, and go right at P. Mameli for the renovated Albergo Al Giaciglio , V. Rocca Brancaleone 42. (0544 394 03. Breakfast ‚2-5. Singles ‚33-36; doubles ‚42-52; triples ‚55-65. MCA.) Piazza del Popolo has a number of good restaurants nearby. Postal Code: 48100.

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