Porta Adriana is one of the surviving gates that together with the protective wall once served the defensive purposes of the city. It is left to visitors and their imagination to put together all of the pieces of this structure and imagine the whole fortress in its previous beauty.
Around Ravenna there was once a protective wall that surrounded the city. After the fall of the Byzantine Exarchate (the dominion of the Eastern Roman Empire in these lands) the walls were neglected and abandoned. Nevertheless, time did a little damage in comparison to human activity, because in the 19th and 20th century large sections of the wall were demolished in order to make space for streets and the railroad.
These defensive walls of height of 4 to 5 meters and the maximum thickness of 2.2 meters were crowned with numerous gates, out of which only a few have survived.
One of these gates is Porta Adriana or Adriana Gate. In the ancient times Ravenna’s fortress was surrounded by two rivers (Ronco and Montone) which protected the city from possible intruders. Adrian Gate led to the bridge that crossed the river Montone; even the bridge was demolished in the 18th century.
When exactly the first version of the gate was constructed is unknown today. The name of the gate Adriana was most probably derived from one of the ancient noble families of Ravenna Adriani. The gate was even decorated by two stone lions (a lion is the symbol of the Venetian Republic) which were mutilated in the 17th century.