Day 7: Ravenna

More Spaniards at breakfast this morning, but they were fewer and less pressed for time than yesterday. They were still ever ready with their elbows at the serving tables. Someone remarked that the Spaniards' idea of a queue was fifty people wide and one deep.

We left at 8:00. Had a good ride through the flat countryside - except for a small range of hills outside Padua (Colli Euganei) that are the ancient remains of volcanic peaks, now famous for hot springs and mineral spas. Saw cornfields, vineyards, peach orchards, kiwi, ringneck pheasants, white and blue herons. Crossed the Fiume Po into Emilia-Romagna, Ravenna's regione.

Once in Ravenna we found our tour guide, Verdiana Baioni. Her first name derived from the fact that her father loved Verdi. For an interesting set of "live" panorama shots of the places we visited check Ravenna Monuments: Dynamic Images. Use your cursor to move the camera up, down, to the left or right, by dragging across the picture.
Wikipedia article: Ravenna

Mausoleo di Galla Placidia

Our first stop was at the Mausoleo di Galla Placidia, built in the mid-400s.

Basilica di San Vitale

Next we visited the Basilica di San Vitale, built in 548, the largest of the Imperial Ravenna churches.

the Basilica

Byzantine Emperor Justinian

Empress Theodora

Justinian, detail

Finestra di alabastro

S. Andreas

Abel, Melchesedec

Jeremiah, Moses



After lunch at Ristorante Marchesini, on the via Mazzini, we visited the Neonian Baptistry (Battistero Neoniano), oldest of Ravenna's mosaic treasures, dating from the late three hundreds, next door to the Duomo. The Battistero degli Ariani, built in the late 400s, was closed.

Neonian Baptistry

Battistero degli Ariani
Tomba Dante, Piazza del Popolo

Next to the Piazza del Popolo (People's Square), then the Tomba Dante (Tomb of Dante), adjoining the Church of San Francesco. Dante died in Ravenna in 1321, in exile from Florence.

Piazza del Popolo

Tomba Dante

One final Basilica: Sant' Apollinare Nuovo

We had only 10 minutes to see it, but by then were too tired to see yet more mosaics. Interesting were the blacked out figures in one corner (their hands are visible on the pillars). Laura got our driver to come by the church to pick us up - not really legal so we had to act quickly. And everyone did. Here's an excellent website about this site.

One reason for the hurry was that a number of the group hoped to attend the Synagogue in the ancient ghetto. We returned to our hotel room and relaxed until dinner, then mailed some postcards and finally enjoyed a glass of wine at Primo Piano, across from the Il Santo's plaza.