August 6 In Search of Byzantine Art Ravenna

Everyone looked a little sleepy this morning after a late night at the opera, but with duffel bags in hand, we took a brisk walk to the train station where a clean, air conditioned train awaited us. The trip to Ravenna took about two hours and when we arrived at our accommodation, Casa Masoli, were delighted with how charming it is. Our room is decorated in an almost seaside theme with baskets of shells and two large antique steamer trunks standing upright.

Exploring the town on foot, we visited two churches decorated with Byzantine mosaics. The first one, Basilica di San Vitale was built in the mid 6th century. It has glimmering mosaics so fine and delicate they look like tapestries woven of the finest silk.

Following a Polish tour group, we visited Mausoleum di Gala Placidia which also had beautiful mosaics and windows that looked as if they are made of thin layers of marble. The tombs there are from the 5th century.

Our final stop was Basilica di Sant Apollinare Nuovo. Dating from the 6th century, there is an interesting contrast. Two side panels are mosaic scenes while the front of the church is Baroque and created a thousand years later.

Dinner tonight was at Ca de Ven, an esoteca. It was decorated with old wooden wine barrels. To eat we had homemade ravioli and a platter of grilled vegetables and tomatoes stuffed with couscous. Coffee was served luke warm, but we learned that our American hot coffee is not part of the Italian way of life.

Train Ride to Ravenna
Passing through sleepy towns
Even the houses close their shutters like eyes
Taking a siesta
from the hot Italian sun


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