Ravenna, a capital city for hundreds of years

From Wikipedia: Ravenna was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until that empire collapsed in 476…Afterwards, it served as the capital of the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths. Later, the city formed the centre of the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna until the invasion of the Franks in 751, after which it then became the seat of the Kingdom of the Lombards.

This city is east of Bologna, only about 5 miles from the Adriatic and is a popular day-trip destination within the area.  It has a population of 170,000, hosts many cultural events and festivals (the Ravenna Jazz Festival is currently going on) and has eight UNESCO protected historical sights.  And, pleasantly, it was a very beautiful, very comfortable place to be, and was not overrun by tourists!  We spent the day leisurely strolling down the pedestrian-only cobblestone streets and going from sight to sight and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Rather than give a huge commentary and then an overwhelming amount of pictures, I will tell the story in the captions of my photos.  Remember: the photos are linked to larger versions, and I am happy to send you originals/ additional photos upon your request.

This city is world-famous for the vibrant 1500 year-old mosaics within its eight early-Christian sights. What stands out is the massive amount of manpower in assembling this artwork and the fact that the colors are still so vibrant, you would hardly believe it wasn’t made this decade.

B+W What the buildings generally look like from the outside

Our first encounter with mosaics: The Baptistry of Neon.

This is the detail in the mosaics. I estimate it took 10-20 stones just to cover 1 square inch. Consider that as you look at the rest of the pictures.

Entering the Basilica San Vitale

Mosaics all the way up!

Detail in the floors as well as the ceiling and walls

A close-up.

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (430 AD). The room was almost pitch black, so I set my camera to ISO 3200.

Dante Aligheri’s (The Divine Comedy) Tomb.

Strolling through Ravenna streets

Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo, an imposing church from 504 AD

It has ornate golden mosaics all along both sides of the sanctuary.

The ornate-ness in detail…wow!

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One thought on “Ravenna, a capital city for hundreds of years

  1. All of the mosaic details are amazing, and so hard to believe that they’ve been there since the 1500s. I LOVE that black & white picture Bobby. You and Kellie both impress me with your photographic eyes! Will you be uploading more pics on facebook or snapfish/shutterfly so I can see more? I would love to see more.
    Your day in Ravenna seemed well-spent, and not too packed with tourists! Who are the black-clad men in the basilica? Priests of some sort or do you even know?

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