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Archive for the ‘Ravenna’ Category

One last entry on Ravenna, 4 months after the fact! This is the last of the small, intimate and very appealing mosaics sites we enjoyed. Before I show you the pictures, here are a few things we noticed about Ravenna that were different or at least seemed to be characteristic of it.

  • Popular wines are Sangiovese for red and trebiana for white – a huge generalization of course.
  • We saw a lot of butter and sage in recipes.
  • Many restaurants, when you order the house wine, bring a bottle, open it and charge you just for what you consume.
  • They have salt and pepper on the table. I don’t think I’ve seen that anywhere else.
  • Their cappuccinos are bigger and more milky than we’ve had elsewhere.

Hmmm. I wonder why all my notes were about food!

The Baptistry of Arian was built around 550 A.D. Kristi, who is much more observant and knowledgeable about these things, pointed out that its mosaics are more developed. Enjoy.

The 8 sided Baptistry

Intimate and airy

Looking up a wall to the ceiling mosaic

Baptism taking place at the center

Closeup detail

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Ravenna’s Apollinare in Classe

Back in May, when we were in Italy, I did a few posts on Ravenna which we were visiting. I never did get to this fabulous church and its mosaics. So here we are.

Beautiful brickwork

Basilica San Apolliinare In Classe is the second big church with mosaics that I loved. It feels completely different from San Vitale. It is much more open and the light inside is soft and beautiful. It has fewer layers and views. It is more straightforward. There are many fewer mosaics, with only two bits of the floor mosaics still intact. But those around the apse are stunning and the light creates a peaceful space that you simply want to stay in.

Simple, rhythmical interior

Too, the church is about 5 miles south of Ravenna in a big open plain with views off to the mountains. So it sits in a park like setting. To find such a piece of art in what amounts to the country is amazing. Enjoy the pictures.

Beautiful light

 

Stunning mosaics

Speaking of mosaics, we have signed Pam Goode to do a mosaic workshop for us in 2013.

Simply gorgeous

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It is hard to say which of the two larger UNESCO World Heritage churches I like most. Both are wonderful. I love Basilica di San Vitale for the wonderful spaces created by the Octagonal building and the columns and arches needed to support it. The church has more mosaics then any of the other sites, with floors, ceilings and walls all containing them.

Basilica San Apolliinare in Classe feels completely different. It is much more open and the light inside is soft and beautiful. There are many fewer mosaics, with only two bits of the floor mosaics still intact. But those around the apse are stunning and the light creates a peaceful space that you simply want to linger in.

First San Vitale.

San Vitale

San Vitale Apse

Amazing

Floor and Wall

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Of Ravenna’s 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites 7 are of buildings with mosaics. Generally, the more intimate of these buildings left their greatest impression on me: the two baptisteries, and the mausoleum of Galla Placidia. Being up close to the mosaics rather than seeing them from a great distance enables you to appreciate them so much more.

While these smaller buildings are more intimate, it is very difficult to capture with a camera the beauty and workmanship of the mosaics.

Placidia Mausoleum Ceiling

Placidio detail

Ariana Baptistery

Ariana Baptistery

Ariana detail

Ariana ceiling

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Ravenna’s Brick

Ravenna, where we are taking a break from our spring trips,  is many things. It is particularly known for the mosaics and its 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites. The mosaics are beautiful, but the surprise for me ha been the beautiful brick architecture. The city has all kinds of architecture, lots of stucco, painted stucco, stone. But the beauty of some of the brick and the craftsmanship of it, is nearly as impressive as the mosaics. The mosaics exist on buildings made of brick, constructed in the 400 – 600 A.D. period.

The building who’s brick has struck me the most is the Palazzo della Provincia. Complementing the brick is the physically contained environment that lends an intimacy to the building. The space in the basement of its round building is simply incredible in terms of how the openings were made. The contemplative gardens around the palace also add to the ambiance. And the piazza in which it sits, San Francesco is beautifully proportioned.
Basilica San Vitale also has impressive brickwork. The flying buttresses really fly and the details are wonderful. Many of the bricks used in construction are about 2 inches tall and 20 inches long. They are called grulianeri. Pictures speak better than words.

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