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Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna
Ravenna, a city unique in the world. During the 5th century it was the last capital of the Western Empire and heir to the greatness of Rome, and down through the ages it has played a leading role in European history. It became the chief city of the Roman-Barbarian kingdom under Theodoric the Goth and subsequently the seat of the Exarchate after being re-conquered by the Eastern Empire. Its splendid monuments bear witness to its role as political, commercial and artistic centre of a succession of different civilizations. The imperial Roman period and the mid 6th century period when it was the hub of the Eastern Empire have especially left their mark on Ravenna: an extraordinary complex of basilicas, baptistries and mausoleums in which the harmony of classical construction blends with the magnificent splendor of precious marbles and rich Byzantine mosaic decoration. Side by side with these, further attractions include the architectural heritage of the period of Venetian dominion (Piazza del Popolo and the Rocca Brancaleone), the splendid Renaissance cloisters and the 16th century Classense Library. The city that inspired Dante, Boccaccio, Byron and Klimt is surrounded by the grandiose beauty of its natural environment: the magnificent pine wood inland and a sandy lido that stretches kilometres along the Adriatic.
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