If you ask someone where you should go in Italy, you will probably receive answers such as Rome, Florence, Milan, Naples, Pompeii, or Venice. These are, without question, great places but you should also remember to fit Ravenna into your trip. Once you see it you will always remember Ravenna. The city claims the world’s oldest Christian mosaics. You can visit the the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Baptistery, the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, the Arian Baptistery, the Archiepiscopal Chapel, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Church of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in a day. I believe all eight are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The buildings give no clue to the grandeur that waits just inside their doors.
You need not be Catholic, or even religious, to be moved by the triumphal arch mosaics in the Basilica of San Vitale. Our little camera does not do justice to the beauty of the work or the artisan skill of the workers.
In this photo, the blue Garden of Eden mosaic from the 5th century A.D mausoleum of Galla Placidia looks almost like a tapestry. She is not actually buried there but it doesn’t really matter. The mausoleum is no less stunning.
Many of the buildings and mosaics are 15-to-16 centuries old and have been damaged beyond repair. Even these have a stark beauty.
Most amazing are the ceilings. I cannot begin to image how these were created so far above the floor with thousands of tiny tiles.
Alla has to be given credit for getting us to Ravenna. To steal a few lines from Dr. Seuss, the sun did not shine, it was too wet to ride on that cold, rainy day. So rather than set in the hotel with nothing to do we took the train to Ravenna for a day to remember.