Ravenna is a very nice little city (~160000) & fortunately we were staying close to the centre - so it was very easy to walk around town on the warm evenings. We didn't have a lot of time to see some of the renowned early-church mosaics (eight UNESCO World Heritage sights to be seen), but Henry & I managed to see a couple once Steve had gone back to England early. Of course, being Italy, the food was fantastic & as the capital of Romagna region we were able to sample quite a bit of the local food & wine.
The SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber) plant was on a huge industrial site, a similar size to the Port Kembla Steelworks - but with more space dedicated to plant, rather than stockpiles. There were an incredible number of bicycles and small Fiats all around to save much walking. There was an appropriately sized canteen, where the lunches were bountiful & cheap. Perhaps I ate too much pasta last week.
It wasn't too difficult to get my return flight pushed out by two days so that I could have a free day exploring somewhere else in Italy. Conveniently, Venice is on my list and only a short, cheap train ride away from Ravenna. I rolled in Friday evening & then had a twenty minute walk rolling my cases along a lot of cobbles and carrying them over many bridges. The end of September is a good time to visit: it's warm, but not hot; the famous stink wasn't there; and the crowds are tolerable.
But what an absolute nuts city - built on (& sinking into) the water, it's just mad. Being so flat, it's a very easy city to walk around & get to the main sights & even outlying neighbourhoods - pre-cached maps on one's phone really help in not getting lost in the labyrinth (the GPS signal was surprisingly strong in such skinny streets surrounded by tall stone buildings). While I expected no cars, the lack of bikes took a little more to get used to - especially after the proliferation of bikes in Ravenna.
|St Mark's Campanile|
As usual, I walked an awful lot around the city popping in to a few of the famous buildings & museums - Scuola Grande di San Rocco (filled with huge Tintorettos - said to be his Sistine Chapel) was my favourite. The Jewish Quarter was nice & quiet, but then so were a lot of the neighbourhoods away from the Grand Canal & associated crowds.
So that two hours of the four violins, a viola, a cello (the cellist was particularly exuberant and highly entertaining), a double bass & a harpsichord turned out to be the highlight of Venice for me. A great place to visit, but with so much stone, so many people, no grass & few trees I don't think it's a city I could spend much more than a few days at a time in.