Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sunday Morning In Ravenna, Italy

Our footsteps echoed across the cobbled streets as we strolled through the town on that early Sunday morning  ~

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~ just the two of us touring Ravenna, Italy  on our introductory visit.  You know the kind. Strolling with no real destination in mind just content to be together, surrounded by such history and beauty.

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As the late autumn sun rose higher in the sky, the streets began filling with people – travelers and locals alike – in this capital city of the Province of Ravenna in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region.

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Ravenna is an inland city connected to the Adriatic Sea by the Candiano Canal (pictured above). It was one of the last ‘ports of call for the Celebrity Silhouette; the ship we’d sailed from Rome through the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas last October.  A steady stream of buses transported cruisers  like us from the ship to the city on a route that followed the canal.

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From 402 – 476 Ravenna was  the seat of the Western Roman Empire. . .then the capital of the Ostrogothic kingdom. . . that gave way to the Byzantine Empire. . .and then the Kingdom of the Lombards. And the list continues. . .

SilhouettePt22012 327For those of us who love reading and writing as much as travel one of it is notable  attractions is the resting place of Italian poet and philosopher, Dante Alighieri, author of “The Inferno” (the city is mentioned in Canto V).  

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What we will likely remember the longest though about our visit to this city steeped in history was the stop at the Basilica of Saint Vitale, which is considered one of the most representative examples of Byzantine architecture in the world today.

(By this point in the trip we had seen a number of mighty impressive cathedrals but this one was simply jaw-dropping both for its size and its décor.)

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So many mosaics cover the walls, floors and ceilings that it would take weeks of repeated visits to absorb the story each tells; their various themes from the Hebrew Bible or what Christians call the Old Testament.  Some mosaics highlight Emperor Justinian I with his court and his Empress Theodora with her attendants.

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The mosaics were commissioned by Archbishop Maximian 546/556 A.D.

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The church had been closed earlier in the morning for services but when the doors opened, camera-snapping visitors filled its every nook . Yet there still remained a collective hush not unlike those moments before a church service starts as we absorbed the grand interior. If felt almost as if we, too, were attending a service.  Maybe we had been ~ each of us in his or her own way?

That’s it for this Travel Photo Thursday. Head over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos. And we send our best wishes to all of you who are celebrating Easter this weekend!

And If You Go:

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Hours and entry fees for the Basilica can be found at: www.ravennamosaici.it

Ravenna  annually hosts the  Ravenna Festival – one of Italy’s premier classical music gatherings. Opera performances are held at the city’s Teatro Alighieri and concerts take place at the Palazzo Mauro de André as well as other locations like the Basilica of San Vitale.

29 comments:

  1. I wish I was jetting off to Italy for Easter! The food and those frescoes, ohh yes please! Thanks for sharing some wonderful pictures and experiences, and for (ahem) sparking my itchy feet syndrome over Easter ;)

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    1. We were in Italy once over Palm Sunday and the small town in which we were in had such a wonderful cathedral that we attended church (unable to understand Italian) but we were all handed palm fronds and we exited the church en masse and walked through the walled town and back - a most moving experience. I love traveling and 'being somewhere else' on holidays to see and experience the traditions. Thx for your visit, Johanna!

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  2. I know what you mean when you talk about cathedral overload. The age of this one alone makes it stick out.

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    1. It really was an incredible place despite cathedral overload. Thanks for taking time to comment Evan! Happy Easter.

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  3. I was born in Ravenna, Ohio so Ravenna, Italy has long been on my travel list. It's the little things, right? Thanks!

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    1. Now I didn't know there was a Ravenna, Ohio. I will have to put this on my list of places to visit! Thanks for stopping by today!

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  4. Such a beautiful city - I have long wanted to visit Ravenna! Love your photos of the mosaics in the Basilica - such incredible works of art!

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    1. Thanks much for stopping by today and Happy Easter! (I do recommend Ravenna if you get to Italy!)

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  5. I can see why the mosaics in Ravenna get rave revues. It is one city I would love to visit. Enjoy your Easter break...will you be in Italy!!

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    1. No, we will be packing for Greece though as that trip will be coming up real soon! (Yippee!) Happy Easter Jenny!

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  6. That must have been a rewarding aimless stroll with so much beauty and history on the streets. The cathedral is jaw dropping indeed. Those frescoes are amazing. What a beautiful Sunday morning.

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    1. It was one of those great Sundays that you remember long after you've returned home, that's for sure! Happy Easter!

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  7. Pretty darned incredible interior in that cathedral. It's easy to get a case of cathedral overdose in Italy but I too would make an exception for this one.
    Also love walking around with my husband with no major objective. It doesn't happen often enough.

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    1. Yes, it was an incredible interior - have to admit it was a bit overwhelming! Hope you have a great Easter Weekend!

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  8. I think you did attend that service, Jackie.
    Your photos are so stunning, I can imagine how impressive the city and cathedral must have been up close.

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    1. It sure did feel like it! Thanks for stopping by and Happy Easter Marcia!

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  9. What a beautiful city and a stunning cathedral. I've seen Ravenna as a cruise port stop but hadn't realized its richness in history. Have a Happy Easter!

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    1. It really was surprising - I don't know why I should have known I have yet to find an Italian city that isn't stunning in some way.

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  11. Nice post and very timely. We'll be off to Emilia-Romagna in June and our first trip to Italy. We're quite excited about it and this added. I'm glad you added the pic and note about Dante. I especially like your opening sentences and you described well a familiar feeling.

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    1. Thanks much for stopping by Mr. TWS! Nice to have you among us in the blogosphere. You would love Ravenna - well worth a visit if you get a chance while in Emilia-Romagna.

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  12. I adore wandering aimlessly, especially early in the morning. Ravenna sounds lovely.

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  13. I think those aimless wanders often lead to some of the most memorable wonders! Thanks for the visit Sophie!

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  14. How is it that this citynis so important historically, but I have never heard of it? It looks like wandering around really paid off. I could stare at the basilica mosaics for hours.

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    1. W as like you Michele - I knew it was there and that was about it. . .I didn't expect it to be as full of travel treasures as it was - I'd certainly not hesitate to go back.

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  15. I've been to Bologna a few times and Ravenna is close enough to be tantalizing, though I have never made it there. We are heading back to Bologna this summer for a week so we will have another chance. The cathedral looks amazing but so do the cool streets.

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  16. Andrew, it is well worth a day trip if nothing else to see Ravenna's history close up. Although we love Bologna and would find it difficult to even give up a bit of time there. Have a great trip!

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