Autumn is a perfect time for trips and Italy is home to some of the most exciting historical, cultural and artistic experiences in the world. Ravenna is just the city for both archaeology and art. It’s home to some of the most beautiful mosaics in the entire world and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Mosaics of Ravenna
These brilliant, tiny tiles cover the apses and vaults of the most important monuments. A single admission ticket will allow you to visit: the Archiepiscopal Museum; the Neoniano Baptistery (or the Orthodox); the Basilica of St. Apollinare Nuovo with the theory of saints, virgins and the stories of the New Testament; that of San Vitale with the majestic Christ the Emperor, the portrait of Justinian and Theodora and, finally; the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia with its splendid starry sky.
But Ravenna doesn’t end there for those who are looking for knowledge. If you adore mosaics, you can’t miss a visit to the Arian Baptistery, which recalls to mind the motif in the Neonian Baptistery, dating back to the time of Theodoric. The famous white Mausoleum of Theodoric is located just outside the center of Ravenna in a spacious park.
Buses are available which will take you directly to two other important archaeological sites. There is the ancient Roman Port of Classe and the majestic Basilica of St. Apollinare Nuovo. Again, the apse is adorned with a mosaic dating back to the 6th century A.D. with a representation of Bishop Apollinare and the Transfiguration.
You can also pay tribute to the great poet Dante Alighieri, whose tomb is located near the Basilica of San Francesco, and continue on until you reach the small church of St. Eufemia. You would never imagine what is hidden beneath its floors: the domus dei tappeti di pietra (stone floors) date back to the 5th-6th century A.D. The Dance of the Seasons and The Shepherd are especially noteworthy.
Before leaving, don’t forget to walk through the streets of the town, admire the small shops and enjoy a tasty piadina romagnola (a local sandwich wrap similar to a tortilla).
Be sure to read about all the exciting places and events in the Emilia-Romagna region!
photo copyrights: Cristina Cumbo