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

Discover our excursions

5 results found


      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level

      • Duration
        00 m

      • Adults85Price per person

      • Children62Price per person


      Join us on a day out in Bologna, the cradle of the ‘villanovianans’, an Iron Age movement of skilled potters and smiths who settled here before the Etruscans. (“Felsina” was the Etruscan name of the town, whilst “Bononia” was the Latin name.) This ancient town flourished during Roman times but spiraled into decline after the fall of the Roman Empire, regaining its former splendour in the 11th century when Bologna became a free commune. During this period, in 1088 AD was when Bologna University was built, now the oldest university in the Western World. Linked to the university is the Archiginnasio, a superb palace which served as the first permanent seat of the university and which boasts a beautiful wood-panelled anatomical theatre built of fir wood dating back to 1637. We will visit the Archiginnasio as part of our city tour. Today Bologna is famous for its elegant arcades and elaborate balconies, brick stone palaces, numerous churches, crooked towers and the remnants of the 8 km long city wall. A great way to discover this city is on foot, so we will enjoy a walking tour around Piazza Maggiore which lies at the heart of the town and displays the magnificent Fountain of Neptune by the sculptor Giambologna. Visit the gothic San Petronio Basilica, the largest and most important church in Bologna which is dedicated to its patron and hosts masterpieces by Jacopo della Quercia and others. Continue to the city centre to see the symbol of Bologna: the crooked towers “Torre degli Asinelli and Garisenda”. Please note: the inside visit to the Archiginnasio will be reconfirmed during your cruise. This tour includes 2-hour walking in the city and is not advised to guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair. Conservative attire recommended for visiting sites of religious importance.

        • Duration
          00 m

        • Adults85Price per person

        • Children62Price per person


        Renowned for both its beauty and cultural significance, Ferrara was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. This is an exceptionally well-preserved medieval and renaissance town and still boasts over nine kilometres of 15th and 16th century city walls. Discover the city on foot with a guided walking tour through the historic part of the city to the Diamond Palace, named after the diamond ponts into which the façade’s stone blocks are cut; the Palace now houses the National Picture Gallery. We will admire the exterior of the impressive Estense Castle, built in 1385 and located in the city centre. This brick building is surrounded by a moat with four massive bastions. The tour continues with a guided visit around the exterior of the Cathedral and into the old Jewish ghetto, before returning to Ravenna. Please note: as this tour includes approx. 2-hour walking, it is not not advised to guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair.

        CITY TOUR
          • Duration
            00 m

          • Adults45Price per person

          • Children32Price per person


          Art and architecture form a perfect marriage here in Ravenna, the mosaic capital of the world! Several buildings housing these mosaics – which often date from the 5th and 6th centuries - have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A bus will take you to Ravenna which has been the capital of various kingdoms three times over: in the 5th century, this handsome city was the last capital of the Western Roman Empire. It was later the capital of the ‘Barbarian Kingdom’ under the Ostrogoths and subsequently the seat of the Exarchate under the Eastern Roman Empire. Ravenna’s splendid monuments bear testament to its importance as a political, commercial and artistic centre. The coach will stop at Baracca Square, where we will begin our walking tour. Ravenna is well-known for its glittering mosaics and you can admire the intricate beauty of these golden designs inside the San Vitale Basilica and in the tiny Mausoleo di Galla Placidia. Still today in the mosaic workshops around the city, one can see the mosaic masters at work keeping the tradition of mosaic alive through reproductions of great mosaic masterpieces or revisiting the craft in contemporary works of art. Lovers of literature will be interested in the tomb of the great Italian poet Dante, who, after being exiled from Florence and travelling around Italy, died in Ravenna in 1321. Your guided tour will end with the visit of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo. Please note: as this tour includes some parts by walking, it is not not advised to guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair. Conservative attire recommended for visiting sites of religious importance.
        • SAN MARINO

          CITY TOUR
            • Duration
              00 m

            • Adults79Price per person

            • Children55Price per person


            Fancy visiting one of the smallest countries in the world? San Marino is the oldest republic in Europe and, at 24 square miles is the fifth smallest nation in the world (the Vatican is first, followed by Monaco). This tiny country was named after and founded by the 4th century monk and stonemason St. Marinus who was forced to flee the religious persecution of the Emperor Diocletian. Situated on the slopes of Monte Titano in the Appenine Mountains, this microstate has its own mint, stamps, football team and even its own 1,000-strong army to protect the 30,000 residents. The borders of this country are just 12 km apart at the widest point, although there are no customs formalities here. Our tour includes a visit to the Church of San Francesco which was founded in 1361 and is the oldest building in the Republic. We will also look around the Piazza della Libertà which is home to Government Palace, and the Torre Guaita (‘First Tower’). Beneath the Piazza is a fascinating and ancient system of cisterns designed to gather rain water and which was once used as a water reserve for the citizens of San Marino. Return to the ship at Ravenna port. Please note: the transfer to San Marino takes 1,5 hrs each way; it may be dusk when we visit some of the sites. The Government Palace may close in any moment and without previous notice due to political reasons. This tour is not advised to guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair due to long walking and stairs to negotiate. Conservative attire recommended for visiting sites of religious importance.

              • Duration
                00 m

              • Adults99Price per person

              • Children69Price per person


              Driving from the port of Ravenna along the highway and reach Maranello ; this name became famous all over the world for its link as basis for Ferrari. This is an exclusive tour giving passengers the chance to visit the “Galleria Ferrari” , where are display in rotation about 40 models of the over 260 cars of Ferrari’s history and production, giving the visitor the intact charm of the Ferrari Myth. The “Galleria Ferrari” is not just a museum, but a dynamic exhibition that continuously updates over time. In addition to the permanent exhibition of the most significant historical pieces, including the first Ferrari car, the 125 S of 1947, and Enzo Ferrari's office in Modena with original items and furniture, the Galleria shows the newest racers and road cars. Moreover, it is the Galleria's tradition to present all of the Company's new models at the same time as the most important international car shows. In the “Galleria”, a large shop, which is an annex of the larger Ferrari Store located in front of the Ferrari factory's entrance, offers a wide range of official Ferrari merchandising. Drive back to the pier.

            The excursions in the programme above are intended to provide MSC Cruises guests with an idea of the different tours which can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
            Shore excursions programmes and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
            Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.


            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.