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Can Ravenna be elected European City of Culture?"

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Santa Barbara, CA
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Can Ravenna be elected European City of Culture?"

We just returned from Ravenna, where a campaign is underway to get that city chosen as "European City of Culture." I am wondering if someone can urge the population to be a little more pleasant to tourists who come there if they'd really like get this tourist "plum." Clearly, there's more to Ravenna than the ancient past, as the outskirts of the city show, but we found workers in cafes, hotels and restaurants unable or un-willing to try to communicate with non-Italian speakers. In fact, some people were quite impatient with our efforts to be understood and ACCURATE information on sights' opening hours was very hard to come by. The vibe was more NYC than La Dolce Vita. We met just one person (a woman who worked in the ticket office at San Vitale) who seemed interested in helping us to see the best of the city. This woman went so far as to speak with us at another of the UNESCO sites, where she had obviously just come from her lunch, to see if we'd managed to see what we wanted to see. She could teach her fellow citizens a thing or two!

And a tip for whoever is in charge of the fabulous Baptistry: replace the water in the center font with mirrors. You'll get the effect of water AND give people another way to study the ceiling!

Liguria, Italy
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11. Re: Can Ravenna be elected European City of Culture?"

Just so everyone knows that Italy is not a hopelessly backward country, there are many painted ceilings in Italy -- such as in some rooms of the Este castle in Ferrara -- where there are free-standing mirrors strategically placed so that visitors can look at the elaborately painted ceilings more easily. In other places, visitors are given framed mirrors they can hold and walk around the space to better see ceilings

But the baptismal font of a baptistery is the single most sacred object in the entire structure, and baptistery in Ravenna is the most ancient monument in the city. Moreover, according to its Unesco designation ""this is the finest and most complete surviving example of the early Christian baptistery" -- not just not in Ravenna. In the world.

As for Santa Barbara, California, it ripped up its historic district and made it a tacky shopping area with lots of Oldy Time-y Cally-forn-ee touches and Mexican-ish "ole!" A reflection, so to speak, of what the locals preferl. It attracts a lot people from Hollywood for weekends or second homes. You can never make things too fake in Southern California, or erase too much history. People are happier with the fake.

Liguria, Italy
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12. Re: Can Ravenna be elected European City of Culture?"

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Vignola, Italy
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13. Re: Can Ravenna be elected European City of Culture?"

The second post from Jagggs is a little more precise.

In my opinion he's right about hotel: if you ask a tourist information a desk clerk must do an effort to find this information. He can check on internet or make a phone call. And often hotels have some pocket guide about the city with the basic information. I think Jagggs was a little unlucky with his hotel.

About paying: I'm agree that pay a coffee with a 20€ bill isn't so polite, but remember that in Italy the ATM often give only 50€ and 20€ bills, so often you have to pay with this size. And the 20€ isn't a so big size anymore.... Remember even that often all moneys are eaten by the parking machine!

One thing about Emilia-Romagna citizien. Sometimes be rude and seems angry is only a facade, is like a joke for us. So sometimes we answer in a grumpy way. Or is even possible that you meet a not polite barman.

Bye

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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14. Re: Can Ravenna be elected European City of Culture?"

It's true that the hotel clerk seems to have been very unhelpful. Even in the very cheap hotel where I sometimes stay in Rome, the hotel clerk has often gone to some trouble to find information for me. However, in this little hotel, the clerk is also the owner, and in a big hotel, the clerk may be an underpaid employee who doesn't feel much interest in doing more than he's absolutely required to do.

I always apologize when I pay for a small item with a 20 or a 50 euro note.

Imperia, Italy
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for Italian Riviera
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15. Re: Can Ravenna be elected European City of Culture?"

<I always apologize>

'Mi dispiace' is possible the most useful Italian phrase there is, if you're doing anything just slightly problematic. Usually results in effusive denials that you might be doing anything wrong. When paying with too large a note, it is best said after you have conspicuously searched for small change!

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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16. Re: Can Ravenna be elected European City of Culture?"

That's exactly what I do.

It's funny; in the US cashiers seem to actually get annoyed if you search for change, as it slows their pace. They'd rather change a $20 note for a $1.20 purchase. If they run short of change, they just break out another roll of quarters. (Rolls of coins don't exist in Italy, and actually I haven't seen them in other parts of Europe, either, which is probably one of the reasons for the change hoarding.)

However, in the US, for reasons I find incomprehensible, a $50 note is not welcome at all, and a $100 note might as well be a Tajikistan traveler's check. When I get dollars from my bank to travel, often they have only $100 notes, and there's no way a taxi driver at the airport in the US is going to take one of those!

These are the strange little things we have to adapt to when we travel. There's no profit in getting annoyed about it.

17. Re: Can Ravenna be elected European City of Culture?"

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