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The Civic Tower. Dante 's Era.

The Civic Tower in Ravenna. Hotels near the Civic Tower .

Photo:1)the Civic Tower, sight from Paolo Costa street, 2)the Civic Tower, sight from Ponte Marino street,3)under the tower,4)the Civic Tower,sight from Girolamo Rossi street.

The tower, located in Paolo Costa Street, was built in the  12th century; it was initially known as being "dei beccai", that is of the butchers (where they had their shops), in this area near Ponte Marino Street, where there was the Marino bridge.

A road (Ponte Marino Street) at the side here reminds us of the presence of this ancient bridge that crossed the Padenna Canal, the largest of the canals that flowed within the walls of medieval Ravenna.

The tower was one of the many to have been erected in the city as from the year One thousand, built by the noble class as a symbol of power and social prestige.

At the end of the 13th century all the towers and the private forts were demolished on the orders of the  pontifical rector, to confirm the control over Ravenna by the authorities.

Only this tower survived, as it had in the meantime been transferred to the Commune. At a height of 39 metres, it was the highest of them all: for centuries, a guard had the responsibility of sounding the bell in the event of alarm, fire or flooding, in order to convene the Town council.

The tower visibly leans. The slow underground slipping of the land in the direction of nearby Padenna has caused its progressive inclination on that side, so much so that in 2000 a top section had to be removed as it risked collapse.

At the base remain two curious stone fragments: a head, maybe of a woman, inserted inside a niche, next to a horseman, with his back to her. This scene, has since earlist times, excited the imagination of the Ravennati, from which a saying has developed, "cercar Mariola per Ravenna". Which is used to describe somebody that looks for something which he is unable to find, even though it is actually very near and visible: just as the horseman of the tower with his Mariola.

The saying has enjoyed great success, in literary terms also. In the early 14th century a verse appeared from the L' Acerba by Cecco d'Ascoli: "Maria si va cercando per Ravenna/chi in donna crede che sia intelletto", which is taken to mean looking for something that cannot be found.

Even Cervantes, three centuries later in Don Chisciotte compared the "buscar a Marica por Ravena" with "buscar al bachiller en Salamanca", meaning the search for something which is taken for granted: as a graduate in the leading university town of Spain.

Prof. Gianni Morelli






The pleasure of fine accommodation in the centre of Ravenna: we recommend the Fabbri hotels for a pleasant stay as follows:

The Centrale Byron hotel, 3-star, in the centre of Ravenna, near the Civic Tower ;

The Bisanzio Hotel, 4-star hotel in the centre of Ravenna, close to the Civic Tower ;

Once you have reached the hotel and parked your car, forget it and walk everywhere, because everything is within walking distance.

The railway station is near our hotels and within walking distance of them.

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