RAVENNA PROVINCE | EMILIA ROMAGNA REGION
Legend has it that the Byzantines were a fabulous and mysterious people, qualities that certainly also apply to one of their main cities Ravenna, the former capital of the Western Empire. Ravenna is a World Heritage city which attracts visitors from all over the world. The land that surrounds the main city has many unique discovery's to be made. A great bike tour destination for those that like flat terrain and lots of art, history, culture, and food and wine, but there are plenty of challenging hills in the southern part of the province as well.
WHAT TO SEE IN THE RAVENNA PROVINCE
There are so many places of interest around Ravenna that one or two days aren't enough to see everything, but then of course, you can always come back again! The landscape surrounding Ravenna resembles the background of a Renaissance painting, with its round-topped hills dotted with lovely old villages. The plain, too, is full of beautiful and ancient towns and villages, while to escape from summer heat, check out the popular seaside resorts that line the coast and their long shady
The highest point in the Ravenna Provicne are the hills and low mountains on the border with the Tuscany Region. The landscape is lovely all year round and medieval valleys cradle towns such as Brisighella, Casola Valsenio and Riolo Terme. Brisighella is one of those places that are hard not to fall in love with, not only because it is rare to ﬁnd a medieval town that is so charming and well-preserved, but also for its lively atmosphere.
Casola Valsenio is the Italian capital of lavender and other officinal herbs: as many as 400 kinds of plants are cultivated in the HerbGarden (Giardino delle Erbe). Riolo Terme, a popular spa resort, also features a wonderful castle, which is open to the public.
Leaving the hills and going down towards the Via Emilia and the plain, the landscape changes. Here, the small art towns stand out as indisputable local beauties. They are all worth a visit, and each one has its own special feature: Bagnacavallo has a fabulous old town centre; Russi boasts a 2nd century AD Roman villa; the main sight in Lugo is the splendid Este Fortress (Rocca Estense) dating back to the Renaissance and lastly, there is the 15th-century fortress that dominates Bagnara.
As one travels towards the coast, the landscape changes again. Here, the main feature is the immense pine forest stretching from Cervia to Ravenna, praised by Lord Byron. Cluster pines aren't the only trees that grow here: the local ﬂora also includes holm-oaks, willows, and wild orchids that add a touch of colour and whose sweet smell reaches the beach. The larger seaside resort near Ravenna is Cervia.
Should you grow tired of its broad, sandy beach, hire a bike or drive to the saltworks (saline) that are just out of town. The saltworks cover 827 hectares and are now a protected area, since their unique landscape of salty marshes has been unspoilt for 2500 years. Pink flamingos and grey herons come here to nest. In the right season, you can see them from the Prato Rosa tower. Local salt-processing techniques date back to Etruscan times. Salt from Cervia is considered to be particularly “sweet” as it doesn't contain bitter potassium salts. In the past, it was stored in the central Magazzini del Sale (salt storehouses) in the harbour area. The storehouses now host temporary exhibitions and the salt museum, where the star exhibit is a record-breaking salt crystal weighing almost 6 kg or over 13 pounds.
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