Friday, April 20, 2012


We had been to Ravenna before and were excited to take my parents to a less touristy, but equally beautiful city as some of the other big-time site-seeing cities. (Plus, it's only 1 hour and €4.40 away from the biggest beach resort in North Eastern Italy—Rimini. We still haven't been . . . yet . . .) It's famous for Byzantine Mosaics and they certainly don't disappoint.

The best part about Ravenna is that it's an easy day trip, maybe even half-day trip (or half day there and half day at the beach?) It has a handful of major sites that are all relatively close together, but plenty of open grassy areas, serene piazzas and gardens to be able to take as many breaks as your toddler needs. Our toddler needs lots of breaks.

Cloister in Sant' Apollinare Nuovo
Toddler-friendly places in Ravenna

Basilica di San Vitale
This is one of the easiest church to take your toddler to. Inside the church is open and without bumpy tombs to trip on on the ground. Be aware that they do try to maintain a sense of quiet reverence in the building. But the church grounds are wonderful for exploring and walking about. The green space out back (between the church and the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia) is enclosed, grassy, and usually full of kids and strollers.

Botanical Garden just off Piazza Paolo Serra
There's a little fountain, gravel paths and plenty of plants to explore. Just be careful not to upset the grounds keeper. He can be a little over-protective. When we were there in the fall, the trees were all bursting with over-ripe pomegranates. It's a quiet place with benches and pleasant sounds.

Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo
This church is open, bright and has a fun cloister (with bathrooms that have counters by the sinks...possibly diaper change?)

Piazza Arcivescovado
This piazza is right by the Battistero Neoniano and the Archbishop's Chapel (which is now a museum). We had a pleasant lunch here. There were trees to hide behind, benches to climb (and sit on), a enough flowers for crowns.

By the way, one of my favorite things to bring along on all these trips were bubbles. They're easy to pack and are always sure to provide a few minutes of fun/distraction.

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