On Friday we picked up a car in Venice and drove south to Ravenna, a town known for its 1500 year old churches decorated with Byzantine mosaics. The churches and mosaics date from 400 to 600 A.D. We are posting many pictures today but the highlight is the amazing mosaics.
Basillica di San Vitale
Sanctuary filled with mosaics.
Emperor Justinian with military and church leaders.
A beardless Christ sitting on the celestial globe and flanked by St. Vitalis and ???
Theodora, the emperor’s wife, and her entourage.
In the upper part of this section there are 80 different birds from the sixth century. Most of the species can still be seen in Ravenna.
Mausoleum of Galla Placidia.
A section of the interior: St. Lawence being martyred by fire. A library of the four gospels on the left.
Ceiling is filled with stars along with St. Mark’s lion, St. Luke’s ox, St. Matthew’s angel and St. John’s eagle.
We selected some items to purchase at a bakery but the server would not let Margaret pay her: she had to put the money into this machine instead. This is something we had never encountered before. The machine accepts only paper money and spits out change. The workers never handle the money.
Around the corner and down the block we found a bunch of people gathered to listen to a couple of skilled and lively Italian musicians, the “Lovesick Duo”. They perform country western songs such as Johnny Cash’s “I’ve Been Everywhere”, sung with perfect accent. We purchased their CD and they were impressed that Margaret has seen Johnny Cash perform.
Piazza del Popolo.
Our B&B, Giardini di San Vitale.
Our private garden.
Saturday we continued our exploration of sites in Ravenna. This is the Basillica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo.
These three studied the mosaics with great interest. Not sure whether they are members of an eastern rite or what.
Magi bringing gifts to the Madonna and Christ child.
A procession of 26 martyrs walking toward Christ at the left end. At the right end is a cityscape.
Basillica di San Francesco.
Flooded mosaic-covered crypt. Today’s water table is about three feet above the Roman crypt’s floor level so there is a pool with goldfish over the mosaics.
Interior of the Baptistry.
John the Baptist baptizing Christ.
Detail of a ceiling area with empty chairs in heaven waiting for the newly baptized.
We wish we had devoted more time to Ravenna. The is a lot to see that we missed for lack of time.
To enter the parking lot at McDonalds, you must first take a parking ticket from the machine. And you will need to put that ticket into another machine at the exit. If you spend more than two hours in the parking lot, you will need to pay.
This McDonalds is next to an amusement park and safari land. Either it is off-season or the park is a failure because at noon on Saturday we were the only people in the McDonalds.
One of these cars is the Audi we are driving.
Leaving Ravenna, we drove to the tiny country of San Marino, not to be confused with the several Italian towns of the same name. The Garmin GPS prefers to target the Italian towns. Rather frustrating when you can see the country but only get directions to an Italian town.
High on a mountain is the historic village of San Marino (in the country of San Marino) in the distance.
We failed to reach the top but did get pretty close. This is the view looking down.
We are now in Urbino. More on that in our next post.