Wednesday, July 1, 2015


When we began planning our trip to Italy, my husband's must see city was Ravenna. Years ago we spent a few days in Istanbul and saw many of the old churches there but the artwork was no longer in the original form. Ravenna is said to have the best mosaics from Byzantine time.

Ravenna was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until the empire collapsed in 476.

We started our day at Basilica San Vitale which was within walking distance to our hotel. "The church is of extreme importance in Byzantine art, as it is the only major church from the period of the Emperor Justinian I to survive virtually intact to the present day." It doesn't look like much from the outside but inside it will take your breath away.

As we walked in we were impressed with the size. On the ceiling of the dome is a beautiful fresco and all around is marble.

This is the best photo that I have as you look at the presbytery. You can see the size and most of that area is covered with mosaics. The building was finished is 548.

The mosaics are what the church is known for.  This one is at the presbytery.

This was one of my favourite in there. I think after a year of living in sheep country in England I have fallen in love with sheep. The centre is the Lamb of God.

On the left side is the mosaic of Justinian. You can see the soldiers on his right, the deacons on his left. This is representing that Justinian is the leader of both. (Item #1 of things on our Veritas Press Timeline cards that we saw on this trip.)

On the other wall is the mosaic of Theodora. She is shown with a halo. From the bits of reading I have been doing she seems like quite a woman and I am not sure that a halo is part of her but she was Justinian's wife and there was grace available for her as for me. She is holding the chalice of wine while Justinian is holding the bread.

It is easy to be drawn to looking at all the mosaics on the walls and you could miss the floor. I looked down and saw this artwork which I have seen before in books.

Two went to two other smaller places within Ravenna. Mausoleo di Galla Placidia is next to San Vatile. It is small and you are limited to five minutes. I loved the dark colours as well. It was so vibrant.

We then walked Battistero Neoniano. It was a bit difficult to find as it was much smaller than we thought.

On the walls were mosaics of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This was in the dome.

In the afternoon we rode the bus to Classe to Basilica of Sant' Apollinare. The church is empty so it was nice to have time to just sit, look, and reflect. This was much larger.

I like the colours -- the teal blue with the gold cross. Look, more sheep.

Most of the floor was new and boring but there were a few sections where they had the original floor.

I think mosaics were the forms of early quilts.

We also saw Dante's tomb, ate gelato, and some good pasta. I am so glad that we went to Ravenna. It is a small city and one day gave us plenty of time to see things there.


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