Arnaldo Momigliano (1908-1987), "Cassiodorus and Italian Culture of His Time," Proceedings of the British Academy
41 (1955) 207-245, rpt. in his Secondo contributo alla storia degli studi classici
(Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1984), pp. 191-229 (at 191):
When I want to understand Italian history I catch a train and go to Ravenna. There, between the tomb of Theodoric and that of Dante, in the reassuring neighbourhood of the best manuscript of Aristophanes and in the less reassuring one of the best portrait of the Empress Theodora, I can begin to feel what Italian history has really been.