Ravenna cruise

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

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  • BOLOGNA (approximately 5 hours)


    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. 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: this excursion includes 2 hours walking in the city so it is not advised to guests with walking difficulties. Conservative attire is recommended for visiting sites of religious importance.
      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level

      • Duration
        00 m

      • AdultsAUD $132.00Price per person

      • ChildrenAUD $99.00Price per person

      • AdultsNZD $145.00Price per person

      • ChildrenNZD $105.00Price per person

    The excursions in the programme are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that 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 programs 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.