Sometimes no matter how big or small is your city, you just need go away from cars, noise, traffic, bikes to dodge and carve out a spot to move freely with both your mind and body.
Although this space has always coincided with seaside to me, in all its facets and nuances, there are times when the need is more urgent and sudden, or times when a meeting cannot wait or you just know you have to study but you don't feel like hiding yourself in a library when spring is in the air ... so "La Rocca" was in many circumstances the answer to all that.
Snugger than public gardens, a few steps away from the heart of the city and Darsena district, impressive in its night lighting, it seems to greet me in winter nights when the streets inhabited only by the last night owls are emptied of every sound and certain places of your city get a different atmosphere.
A building that – likewise other elements that you will discover visiting Ravenna - marks an imaginary bridge between this city and its not distant cousin, Venice.
Built under Venetian domination in the Fifteenth Century, it has always been used mainly to protect the city on its northeastern side.
The origin of the name, about which no one has ever come to a clear agreement, makes a strong link between Ravenna and Venice. Personally the idea that fascinates me most has linguistic links and analyzes the etymology of the name: it breaks down the word in "branca" and "leone" (lion) thus creating a reference to the Venetian lion of Saint Mark (moreover we must remember that afterwards our city acquired as its symbol the lion). This hypothesis is confirmed also by the high-relief located at the entrance of the fortress (the Tower of the Chapel) depicting a typical Venetian winged lion.
Within these walls over the years has sprung out a meeting place for families with children that can play with the games in the park, for young people who meet up to experience some acrobatics with ropes.
The best and liveliest moment is, as you can well imagine, spring, when the grass turns white with the daisies that seem to be waiting for couples in love or university students that lie on the lawn until sunset.
During summer the bar in the middle of the park comes alive: old men play cards and guys hang out for a refreshing beer.
From June to September the fortress is also the location of a very nice initiative: summer cinema. I remember when I was a child the wonder of seeing the big screen in front of me in the open air, the lights cast and the voices that gradually conquered all the surrounding space. The movie schedule is very good too: they broadcast movies of the previous winter season ranging from cartoons for kids to polished titles of avant-garde cinema.
In short, there is something for all tastes and for those who want to watch a good movie enjoying the summer air (with the addition, to be honest, of some mosquito swamp that in Ravenna is a must !!) .
How to get there
Via Rocca Brancaleone
On foot: 10 minutes from the railway station
By bus: Lines 2, 3, 5, 90, 141
By car: free parking in the area around the Rocca