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Ravenna – The City of Mosaics

(2 min read)

Remember the beauty of Venice and Florence? Now, imagine something that lies right in between them. Yes, you are right! We’re talking about Ravenna – the magnificent city in Italy, that is also known as the City of Mosaics.

Apart from being the burial place of Danthe and former home to Byron, Ravenna is today best known for being a proud possessor of eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s home to impressive Byzantine mosaics and attracts thousands of mosaic enthusiasts and art lovers. Here we combined a few reasons why you should include this stunning city in your must-see bucket list.

 

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

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According to tradition, the Mausoleum was built to hold the tomb of Galla Placidia, the daughter of Emperor Theodosius I (379-395). Described by UNESCO experts as the best preserved of all mosaic monuments and one of the most artistically perfect, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is a home to unique and powerful mosaics. The most famous and important one perhaps is the early depiction of Christ as the Good Shepherd, located on the entrance on the north side.

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Arian Baptistery

Even if nothing remains of the decorations that once covered the walls, the dome of the Arian Baptistery still contains a beautifully restored mosaic depicting the baptism of Christ and the Twelve Apostles. While admiring the mosaic artwork, you’ll find a lot of unique touches in the Arian version and notice that the figures are a lot simpler.

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Archiepiscopal Chapel

Here comes the smallest but definitely not least interesting of the mosaic sites of Ravenna. The Archiepiscopal Chapel dating back to the 6th century is the only existing archiepiscopal chapel of the early Christian era that has been preserved intact to the present day. The cross-shaped chapel is preceded by a small barrel-vaulted rectangular vestibule, entirely covered with marble in its lower part and decorated with mosaics at the top.

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Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo

Apart from being a wonderful work of art and a place where you can admire the magnificent mosaic decoration documenting the stylistic, iconographical and ideological evolution of Byzantine wall mosaics from the era of Theodoric to that of Justinian, Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo is also full of history. It is known as the most important evidence of the encounter between Arian and Catholic worship.

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Basilica of San Vitale

While admiring the great basilica with spectacular architecture, the symbolism of the mosaic artwork here is very significant. Upon entering, the eyes are captured by the elevation and width of spaces, by the stunning mosaic decorations of the apse and by the baroque frescoes of the cupola. It is probably due to this upward thrust that a small and lesser-known treasure often goes unnoticed: a labyrinth is represented on the floor of the presbytery. In the early years of Christianity, mazes were often the symbol of sin and of a possible purification. Finding the way out of the maze thus represented an act of rebirth.

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There is so much more to discover and admire in the gorgeous city of mosaics. Our list and stories could go on forever. And anyone who is a lover of contemporary mosaic art would surely add Ravenna to their bucket list. And just like the blogger, traveler and art lover Joanne Shurvell says – “Ravenna is simply an art and history lover’s dream”.

 

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Lilit Ghukasyan

Lilit Ghukasyan

17 Comments

  1. Alexandra
    October 7, 2018 at 1:59 am

    Wow! I have been to Italy a couple of times, but I haven’t visited here before. I must make sure I do next time. Looks amazing! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. October 7, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    I want to visit Italy so bad. This will definitely be added to my bucket list. These mosaics are so beautiful and full of history!

  3. October 7, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    Ravenna sounds magnificent, and I will definitely add to my itinerary the next time I plan a trip to Italy. Thanks for this great bucket-list worthy places to see!

  4. October 7, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    I have been to Italy a few times and never visited Ravenna. The mosaics are gorgeous. Maybe next time I visit I will stop by.

  5. October 8, 2018 at 1:34 am

    Wow these are beautiful pieces! I feel like I learned about them in Art Appreciation but I can’t quite remember!

  6. October 8, 2018 at 7:00 am

    Such an awesome city! When I go to Italy I’ll go to Ravenna for sure! thanks for the info and nice pictures!

  7. Monidipa Dutta
    October 8, 2018 at 9:05 am

    I love Italy. That’s my home country. However, it was great to see how sincerely you have written the review.

  8. October 9, 2018 at 3:09 am

    Wow these mosaics are so beautiful. Will definitely need to check them out when we are in Italy.

  9. Daphne' Adams
    October 9, 2018 at 3:11 am

    I love art and mosaic pieces are always cool. Italy has been on my bucket list and still is.

  10. Rosey
    October 9, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Mosaics are so beautiful. The amount of time they put into them is phenomenal.

  11. October 9, 2018 at 10:21 am

    those mosaics are trully the work of art and are breath taking

  12. Courtney
    October 9, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Omg so many stunning photos!! Italy is so beautiful!!!!! I would love to visit one day!

  13. Kiwi
    October 10, 2018 at 4:29 am

    I love mosaic art. Its so intricate and the ones you are showing are so intricate and detailed with its storytelling!

  14. October 10, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    I live half the year in Italy (Veneto) but haven’t yet visited Ravenna! After reading this, I’ll definitely make a point to visit these stunning mosaics!

  15. October 17, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    So beautiful! i haven’t yet visited Ravenna even though I traveled to Italy 4 times. I will make sure to visit someday

  16. October 23, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Thank you for another fantastic article. Where else could anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect way of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such info.

    • October 23, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      That is great! Happy you found the info useful!