May 20, 2009
Jun 04, 2009
Ravenna was a pleasant surprise. The town center is mostly pedestianized and using bikes to get around is encouraged with free loaner bikes at the tourist info center. You don't dodge cars in Ravenna, you watch out for bikes! So naturally this creates a quiet ambience in the town center made for strolling. The shops are on the upscale side and buildings have pastel colors to create a cheerful look. The highlight of Ravenna is clearly the numerous mosaics in the churches around town. These mosaics date from the late 4th century to 6th century A.D! Yet the colors and patterns are so brilliant as you'll see in our many photos. Ravenna was the western outpost of the Byzantine empire (present day Istanbul) so the eastern influence is apparent in the mosaics and church architecture using domes and hexagons. Mosaics are made out of glass and mineral rock chips the size of your fingernail. The chips are then placed on a cement paste that is applied to the surface to be covered by the mosaic. There are some stores in Ravenna where you can buy your own supplies to make your own mosaics. Viewing these colorful and vibrant mosaics provided a nice break from the heavy Italian Catholic religious paintings of the medieval periods. It was time to head back to busy Bologna and search for that special dinner.