Byzantine Ravenna

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The beautiful mosaïcs in the San Vitale in Ravenna

Our first day of the our vacation and so much we wanted to do and go see! We already planned some 'musts'  before we started this trip and Ravenna was one of these musts. Since i learned about mosaïcs in history of art courses, i always wanted to see the most important mosaïc works in the world, and some of them are in Ravenna.

We woke up a little late today because we were still a bit tired of our travel day the day before. We had a quick breakfast and after that we finally walked to one of my musts, the San Vitale church. I was a little dissapointed because you can't enter the church by its original entrance anymore. We entered the church by another building so you see the interior first and after that you can see the exterior.

Incredibly beautiful
A pity, because you see the best first now, and the exterior doesn't impress you that much anymore because of this. But still, what an incredible beautiful church is this! The mosaïc on the inside is just amazing. If you wouldn't know it's mosaïc, you'd think it's all painted. A lot of scenes from the bible can be seen in the most beautiful colors. Especially when the sunlight shines inside the church, the mosaïc works look amazing. Normally i don't take pictures inside churches, but because it was permitted here and because this is so unique, i took some photos of the mosaïcs before we walked to the small building next to the San Vitale, the Mausoleum of Gallea Placida. From the outside, the building doesn't look like very important. It's a small and boring looking building in the shape of a cross.
San Vitale
But it is one of the earliest buildings in the world in which christian art was found. Of course this is also in mosaïc. I wasn't allowed to take pictures in here, but i can tell you, this was so beautiful. It's unbeleiveble that these mosaïcs are over 1500 years old! The colors are still so bright and the scenes of the life of Christ are almost undamaged.

The next sights we were going to see were also mosaïcs so we walked around in the shopping streets of the old town of Ravenna first, to relax a little. Then we went to the Arian Baptistery, the Sant' Apollinare Nuovo and the Neonean Beptistery. The Arian Baptistery is a small building that used to be a part of the former cathedral of Ravenna. Unfortunately, a lot of the decorations on the inside were damaged during the years but the decorations on the ceiling are still intact.

The Mausoleum of Gallea Placida with beautiful mosaïcs inside
The baptism of Christ is on the ceiling in beautiful mosaïc in beautiful colours. I can't beleive that this building isn't visited more by people. There was a register in the baptistery and we were the 3rd couple that day in this building and it was afternoon. And a visit to this place is really worth it. Actually, all the monuments we saw this day weren't crowded at all. On one hand, it's a pity because there are so many beautufil things to see here in Ravenna but on the other hand, it's great that you have a lot of time and space to see this beauty by yourself. The Sant' Apollinare Nuovo wasn't crowded either. We could hear the silence in this church and i think that a church needs to be a silent place.
The San Appolinare Nuovo, also with mosaïcs inside
The mosaïcs in this church were also very beautiful again. Especially the mosaïc of the 3 wise men from the east was very nice with beautiful colours. The best preserved monument was definately the last one, the Neonean Baptistery, of course with mosaïc decorations of the baptism of Christ. The whole building is still intact and even the old baptismal font was still in it.

After these cultural visits, we thought we earned some relaxing time so we looked  for the nearest cafe, sat down and ordered a nice Italian Spritz with Aperol. We enjoyed the drinks, the people, the weather and the view of the main square in old Ravenna. A nice dinner in our favourite restaurant La Gardela in Ravenna was a perfect end of our first day of the vacation.

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The beautiful mosaïcs in the San …
The beautiful mosaïcs in the San…
Incredibly beautiful
Incredibly beautiful
San Vitale
San Vitale
The Mausoleum of Gallea Placida wi…
The Mausoleum of Gallea Placida w…
The San Appolinare Nuovo, also wit…
The San Appolinare Nuovo, also wi…
The main square in the historical …
The main square in the historical…
The historical center of Ravenna
The historical center of Ravenna
Tower next to the Duomo
Tower next to the Duomo
The main square
The main square
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photo by: tessamoppie