A few years ago I was browsing for cheap airfares (okay, so I do that everyday) when I found a remarkably cheap flight into Northern Italy. People, these tickets were under $400, in late May!!! Obviously I snapped up the tickets in a hot second. Almost as quickly, I drafted an itinerary since I already knew where I wanted to go: RAVENNA.
Our visit to Ravenna was like an art history-saturated hazy dream where we floated around from one staggering Byzantine masterpiece to the next, emerging into the warm air utterly blissed out. The only thing we lacked was a decent camera, so use your imagination with these photos–the real deal is ever so much more enchanting.
Sant’ Apollinare in Classe is a 6th century early Christian basilica hiding by a field a short bus ride outside Ravenna.
The round bell tower is 10th century.
Looking towards the apse—mosaics from 533-49. The dude in the center with all the lambs facing him is Sant’Apollinare.
Again, I wish our photos weren’t so craptastic, because there are so many delightful details to consider. For example: the parade of lambs in the upper right (on the flat area above the apse) are emerging from a green and gold building complex with multicolored clouds floating above their heads. Also, the trees in the lower part of the apse, which you may think of as stylized are actually quite similar to the trees still growing around the basilica.
I have an Italian friend from this area and when I asked him what we should eat in Ravenna he said “piadina”. So we went to a local restaurant and ordered three varieties of piadini. As it turns out, piadina is flat bread. Yeah, we ate a three course dinner of flat bread. ( I may be cute and have great taste in Byzantine mosaics, but occasionally I’m not all that bright…)
How we got to Classe: train from Ferrara to Ravenna, local bus from Ravenna to Classe.
Where we slept: Argentario Hotel. Price: €60 for a double. Recommended: yes.