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Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi in the centre of Ravenna.

Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi in the centre of Ravenna. Hotels near Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Photo: 1)front of the Alighieri theatre, 2)the monument in memory of Giuseppe Garibaldi, 3)the sun-dial, 4)the Theater side on the square, 5)bas-relief of the Garibaldi monument's, 6)bas-refief of the Garibaldi monument's, 7)The Post office building


This square began to emerge in the 19th century, when the Alighieri, theatre was built on one side, on free land that was at the time known as the Swiss Square, the Swiss being the papal guards.

The need to build a new public hall for shows, that was more ornate and larger than the old theatre (which was located in the present day via Matteucci, in a building which was subsequently used to House the Labour exchange), and is linked to the consolidated presence of a new social order that emerged after the revolts of the Napoleonic era, which was the bourgeois class which served to diverge cultural models and tastes which, before then, were the exclusive right of the aristocratic classes.

A central area was selected for the new theatre and the project was handled by the Venetian architects Giovan Battista and Tomaso Meduna, the latter being the author of the Phoenix of Venice.

So that the Alighieri theatre that was opened in 1852, gave the heart of the town new and added prestige, thanks to its impressive dimensions and the solemn new-classically styled column work at the front, as well as the fact that it had a permanent orchestra of over 45 instrument players.

There were 124 stage boxes distributed over five levels, and their ownership once again reflected the recent transformation of the Ravenna society: half going to the "citizens" and a quarter to the nobles, and inverse proportion to that which had existed in the previous theatre.

The appearance of square that was dedicated to Dante Alighieri at the time, was dramatically modified in the following decades.

In 1895 the head offices of the Cassa di Risparmio bank were opened on the side in front of the theatre, which was built on the site of the former locanda Alli Tre Ferri building, which was one of the most characteristic of the town, built in place of the church of San Giorgio dei Portici.

While the year 1926 saw the completion of the new post office building, after the demolition of the old 17th century treasury building, which used to form a single unit with the Papal legate building, which was subsequently the prefecture.

This latter building delimits the northern side of the square and bears a sun-dial dated 1880, created by the Ravenna born Giovanni Zaffi Gardella.
The last element to have been added to give the square an added face lift was the monument in honour of Giuseppe Garibaldi.

It was unveiled in 1892, the year that marked the hundredth anniversary of the death of the hero and work of the Ravenna born Giulio Franchi, it was initially positioned in front of the church of San Francesco and was moved to this site in 1936: the year in which the square acquired its present day name.

The bas-relief work of the base, depict some of the life of Garibaldi: escape with his wife Anita, who was dying and the  flee from the Austrian soldier, the Battle of Rome; his son Ricciotti giving him the flag taken from the Prussians; the battle of St. Antonio.


Prof. Gianni Morelli, Anna Missiroli


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 hotel in the centre of Ravenna, close to the main momuments;

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

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

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