Ravenna cruise

The top of Byzantine art
Sant’Apollinare Nuovo's impressive mosaics
The Ferrari Museum  

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Ravenna/San Marino

The City of Mosaics

The main reason for visiting Ravenna, a few kilometres inland from the Adriatic coast, on your MSC Mediterranean cruise, is simple – it holds a set of mosaics generally acknowledged to be the crowning achievement of Byzantine art.

No fewer than eight of Ravenna’s buildings have been designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. They date from a strange interlude in the city’s history during the late Roman–early Byzantine period when this otherwise unremarkable provincial centre briefly became one of the most important cities in all of Europe. The centre of Ravenna is the Piazza del Popolo, an elegant open space, arcaded on two sides, laid out by the Venetians in the fifteenth century and now bordered by cafés. A group of buildings around Piazza del Duomo shelter the Duomo itself, with its cylindrical tower. Originally a fifth-century building, it was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1733 and rebuilt in unexceptional style soon after.

A holiday to Ravenna is unthinkable without a visit to Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo. Built by Theodoric in the sixth century, it contains some of Ravenna’s most impressive mosaics, running the length of both sides of the nave. Each shows a line of martyrs processing through avenues of date palms and bearing gifts for Christ and the Virgin enthroned. Around 130km west of Ravenna in Maranello you can enjoy another unforgettable MSC excursion: Museo Ferrari, an exhibition centre dedicated to the racing dynasty.

On display are the cups and trophies won by the Ferrari team over the years and an assortment of Ferrari engines, along with vintage and contemporary examples of the cars themselves. There’s also a shop stocking all manner of merchandise, from baseball caps to surf boards.

Must see places in Ravenna

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Italy

History, gastronomy and fashion
History, gastronomy and fashion

A cruise to Italy is an emotional roller coaster. Rome is a tremendous city quite unlike any other, and in terms of historical sights outstrips everywhere else in the country by some way.
 
Liguria, the small coastal province along the north-west coast, has long been known as the “Italian Riviera” and is accordingly crowded with sun-seekers for much of the summer.
In Veneto the main focus of interest is, of course, Venice: a unique city, and every bit as beautiful as its reputation would suggest. Tuscany in central Italy represents perhaps the most commonly perceived image of the country, with its classic rolling countryside and the art-packed towns of Florence and Pisa.

The south proper begins with the region of Campania. Its capital, Naples, is a unique, unforgettable city, the spiritual heart of the Italian south. Puglia, the “heel” of Italy, has underrated pleasures, too, notably the landscape of its Gargano peninsula and the souk-like qualities of its capital, Bari.

As for Sicily, the island is really a place apart, with a wide mixture of attractions ranging from some of the finest preserved Hellenistic treasures in Europe, to a couple of Italy’s most appealing Mediterranean beach resorts in Taormina and Cefalù, not to mention some gorgeous upland scenery.