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ravenna secrets
what the guidebooks don't tell you

by Hannalou Coco (with Jill Terry)
(return to Emilia Romagna)

more emilia romagna....
* Ravenna Secrets
* Ravenna's open Market
* Emilian Cuisine
* What do you know about Emilia Romagna?
* Emilia Romagna region
* More Italian regions...
Reading a guidebook before you go anywhere is always preferable to not reading one. Nevertheless, lots of pertinent facts about an area get overlooked in guidebooks. Ravenna is no exception. Hannalou Coco has spent her summers in Ravenna for the past 20 years and can tell you exactly what to expect when you visit.

  • English speakers are not as common as you might expect. Try to learn a bit of Italian before you visit.
  • So mellow are the Ravennites about their beer and wine consumption, they sometimes even allow their children a taste. Nobody overdoes it, so please keep your American concepts of drinking at home where they belong.
  • Dogs rule in Ravenna! Everybody's got one and none of them are quiet.
  • Sunday afternoon is soccer time. Most men and many women are either attending a game or watching it on television. If you like to have the streets to yourself, this would be a good time to take a walk.
  • Try the bread that's unique to Ravenna: Piadina. Delicious!
  • IMPORTANT: Ravenna is closed on Thursdays. Really. Just simply closed.
  • There are probably more bikes in Ravenna than anywhere else in Italy. Bikes are so special to residents that they keep an old bike for everyday use and a new bike for visiting.
  • A tip for anywhere you go in Italy: " Chiuso per lutto" means closed for mourning. Wait at least a day before returning to see if the establishment is open.
  • Tired of getting pushed aside in line? Announce " Ci sono io!" and the sea of people will part. It means "I'm next!"
  • There appears to be no Italian word for "hangover." This fact probably says quite a bit about Italian culture and its drinking traditions. Draw your own conclusions.
  • Everybody in Ravenna lives in a gated community. Unlike the American convention for putting up fences and gates to keep people out, the gates in Ravenna are mostly decorative and lend a certain charm to the neighborhoods.
  • Life revolves around eating. OK, so this is no different from other parts of Italy. Mothers typically go home around 12:30 in the afternoon, followed by fathers and children at 1:00 or so. Eating/talking/sleeping consumes the next three hours. After 8:00, they eat again.


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