Italy 49 - Suzy gets mosaiced out at Ravenna


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May 18th 2013
Published: May 18th 2013
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Gallia Placida
Another day and they are being ticked off now as we start the countdown to going home. More of our holiday has gone than is left. Suzy spent the night in a fairly quiet site once the noisy Italians had gone to bed. They do have fun these Italians. The morning started off badly with the heavy rain beating on Suzys roof. It felt cold too and the young girl serving in the shop said that it felt more like Autumn than Summer and she hoped for better next month. It was muggy and the temperature around 20 - a temperature we would be grateful for back home. But here they felt it far too cold. I had wondered if they suffered much from climate change here - was it getting like back home where we feel the seasons are drifting into each other without the divide that once clearly signalled Spring, Summer,Autumn and Winter? .

After breakfast we sat and read, showered, talked and waited for the rain to stop. We watched the antics of other motor homers pitching up or moving plot. Why does it take some 20 mins of walking about trying to find a pitch and
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Theodoric
another 20 working out which way to pitch. And still the rain came down and they struggled working out which was was the best to face. Which way would drain the sink and the grey water best and which way the bed would be better placed. . Dinner was eaten in Suzy and then the rain stopped. It wasn’t the best of days to do Ravenna but we had to make a decision. Go today or stay another night and hope the weather improved tomorrow. If we stayed then we would need to get on line and buy some more camping cheques as we had only ordered four and had two left on our card. Moral make sure that you buy extra just in case. We hadnt expected to use extra so just bought what we needed and no more. They only last a year and we had no idea if we had other sites in September that would take them so we took the easy option just to order what we needed and no more. We did get on the internet 2 euro for 3 hours but it was too cold to sit in the café area outside to
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Mosaics in San Vitale
use it much. Our Toggle phone is working a treat but our internet just wont work and e-mails are flying back and to from Italy to Britain to try to sort out a solution. So much for paying £100 + for the device and pre-loading it with £50 worth of credit. We will get it to work but who knows when.

We caught the bus number 80 from just outside the campsite. It took around 20 mins to get from the site to Ravenna. It set us down at the bus/railway station and we then had work out where everything was. I had been many years ago and thought that the city had been wasted on me but upon return I maintained the same position. It wasn’t the most prettiest of cities, fairly quiet but dull compared to many Italian cities. It hadnt the vitality of Bologna nor the prettiness of the smaller Italian hill towns. However what you come to Ravenna for is not the architecture or the pretty streets but the mosaics. And what mosaics there are. They are outstanding.

Our first stop was the San Vitale. My memories of this church were very dim but
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Mosaics in San Vitale
on todays visit I felt it was much smaller and intimate than I remembered and there were more people here on my last visit. I felt that we walked around a lot more but perhaps my memory is wrong. Time does do strange things to memories . It cost 23 euro for the tickets for two of us to visit five of the cities churches and mosaics. I think you can buy these at any of the sites. The mosaics in San Vitale were produced during the Byzantine and Roman periods somewhere between 526 and 547. It is awe inspiring to think of something this old. The apse is completely covered in golden mosaics with the most spectacular of Theodoric the ruler of the Ostrogoths and his wife Gallia Placida. It is a very dark space and gloomy but the mosaics light it up. Mosaics cover the roof, the walls and are mostly high up which leaves you with a stiff neck from looking up in awe at them . They seem to glisten. The church itself was fairly empty of ornament.

Outside the style of the church is interesting being rounded and more Roman than Christian. The paths
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San Vitale
are lined with roman sarcophagi, huge structures intricately carved. They lead to the Mausoleo de Gallia Placida begun in 430 AD even earlier than the church itself and it is the most beautiful building of them all. Small and intimate you enter a curtained space which contains three huge sarcophagi with covered in brilliant blue mosaics, A sky full of stars covers the roof space. The Lamb of god, birds and animals all made of tiny mosaics. The floors of the spaces are wonderful mosaics. It is hard to say which are the better mosaic floors - those of Acquliea or here, the mosaics of Venice or here. Each are different. Gallia Placida was the wife of a barbarian but what wonderful mosaics the barbarians left us. Having watched a programme on the Ostrogoths you can hardly saddle them with this label as they produced some of the most beautiful work you can imagine. I tried to imagine what it must have been like to design your own mausoleum knowing that you would hopefully lie for ever under the most brilliant of blue sky and the twinkling of the gold stars.

We visited the museum and this was full
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San Vitale
of Roman gravestones, christian art, christian vestments and the Ivory Throne There was also an exquisite silver cross dating from 537 AD. We have nothing this early at home and it was strange that not many people were in the museum. Probably we might have missed it had it not been part of the combined ticket. The only disappointment no photographs to remind us of our visit.

It could be easy to be mosaiced out if there is such a word but we carried on to the Neonian baptistery which is the oldest structure in Ravenna 5th century in orgin it houses a baptismal font and some wonderful mosaics adorning the wall. Again a darkened building but full of the most delightful mosaics you could ever wish to see.

We failed to find Dantes Tomb - the street maps were not that easy to follow and it took us some time to find the last of our churches Sant Apollinare Nouvo. This one is a little younger 6th century and is named after Ravennas first bishop. The church is dominated high up by two rows of magnificent mosaics showing a procession of matyrs and and virgins bearing gifts
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San Vitale
for the Christ child and the Virgin.

Our trip home was interesting. We found the bus stop and the number 80 rolled in across the road. We saw people getting on it so rushed across. This seemed like a good idea after missing the bus to Split by standing on the wrong side of the road. It drove off with us on it and it seemed to be going a different way. We passed the large hospital we had not seen on the way in and ended up at a supermarket out of town. Quite clearly not where we thought we should be . I tried asking the driver if we were on the right bus for Via Campeggio and he answered back in Italian and I understood not one word. We then ended up going back past the hospital until we stopped at exactly the same spot as we started at 30 mins ago. We worked out that the bus did a circuitous route to the supermarket and back and then headed out to our campsite so we sat tight and eventually we got home. Moral make sure you get on the right bus. Still it was fun
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San Vitale
while it lasted. And we should have stopped at the supermarket but guess what we didnt!!!!

Tea was a pizza from the on site restaurant . Watched it being made - a small piece of dough flattened and worked by hand lovingly . Tomato and cheese placed all over it before it was put in the wood oven to cook. Delicious just like mama makes. A wonderful day and another memory to add to the list of ones we already have.


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Ravenna

San Vitale
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Floor in San Vitale
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Roman Sarcophagi of which there were many
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Mausoleum of Gallia Placida
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Mausoleum of Placida Gallidia
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Mausoleum of Gallida Placida
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Mausoleum of Gallida Placida
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Baptistry
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San Appolonaire Nuovo
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San Appolonaire Nouvo
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San Appolonaire Nouvo


21st September 2014

What is Suzy?
Just read a couple of entries - trying to figure out what "suzy" is - is it a boat, a trailer or something else? Just wondering and figured it would be easiest to ask.
22nd September 2014

Suzy
Hi Suzy is a motorhome which takes us all over the place. We love her to bits

Tot: 1.518s; Tpl: 0.071s; cc: 17; qc: 26; dbt: 0.0399s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 3; ; mem: 1.4mb