ravenna.

Oh my gosh you guys, we are down to the 2nd to last port of call on our Adriatic cruise from last November.  Today we’re visiting Ravenna, Italy.

We woke to find a beautiful sunrise that we could admire from our balcony.

This is yet another place that I had never heard of before.  The main draw in Ravenna are the churches and their Byzantine mosaics, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

You can buy a combination ticket to visit the top 5 sites, and the route between them is easily covered on foot.

One thing to note if you ever end up in Ravenna via cruise ship, the port is quite far from the city center.  This was also a rare occasion where there were no taxis or other locals waiting just outside the gates at the port to take passengers on tours either.  There was absolutely nothing nearby.  Fortunately our ship offered a shuttle to town for $26 per person.

Once off the shuttle it was an easy walk to the ticket office to purchase the combo admission ticket.

Now, I have a bit of a confession to make.  Our visit to Ravenna was over 3 months ago and when I look at my photos and the map … well … I’m not sure which place is which and they all look rather similar.  So rather than give you any specific details on each place I’m just going to say that if you ever find yourself in Ravenna you should definitely visit all five of the top sites (and more if you have time, because there are more).

Some say the mosaics in Ravenna are the finest examples of Byzantine art outside of Istanbul, and they definitely were stunning.

The colors were so vibrant, and the magnitude of scale was incredible.

The level of detail is mind boggling.  Remember, these are made with tiny, little tiles.

There are also several painted ceilings.

And finally, when your neck has had enough of looking up at ceilings, you can head back outdoors and admire the architecture … but, oh wait, that mostly requires looking up too.

Well, not entirely.

You could just wander the cobblestone streets and admire the buildings too.

Or you can do a little shopping, there was plenty of it to be found.  In fact, this is the spot where we saw so many ‘Black Friday’ sale signs which totally took me by surprise (since Thanksgiving is not an Italian holiday).

I guess the moral to my story is that a visit to Ravenna may also require a visit to your masseuse to cure your stiff neck afterwards.  But it was well worth it.  Next week we’ll be visiting our last port of call, Venice.  Although I already shared our morning tour of the velvet workshop, I still have more to share from Venice.  So if you are enjoying these Wednesday travel posts, be sure to check back next week!

21 thoughts on “ravenna.

  1. Love the ceilings…must have been gorgeous in person. I don’t know how you can keep anything straight in your head after seeing so many beautiful buildings. Looking forward to seeing more…

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  2. Can you imagine the just planning that went into these magnificent works of art? And then there is the installation. Holy cow, how beautiful, these ceilings alone would be worth the trip.

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  3. As an art lover I am in awe of the beauty you just shared. I am going to re-look at this post when I’m on my laptop so I can see it better. I can only imagine seeing it in person. Another beautiful travel moment shared makes me happy!

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  4. Just a suggestion for next time, bring a small pair of binoculars, they’re so helpful for looking at the details in those dimly lit churches and for studying the detail on buildings.

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    1. I have to tell you Mary, every single time I go on a trip I think ‘dang, I should have brought binoculars’. Usually it’s more for seeing things from the ship, but you’re right, they would have been really great to have inside these churches too. Let’s see if I can manage to remember them next time!

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  5. Such incredibly beautiful color palettes in these mosaics! I’m wondering if the, like the velvet patterns in Venice, might inspire some unique wrapping paper?

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    1. Maybe if Linda wrapped your gift in mosaics, you could wrap ours in stained glass! 😉

      I’m thinking Da Vinci must have painted the Mona Lisa right after doing a big installation. “C’mon Mona, justa leetle one, eh? I’ma getting old!”

      That’s why she’s smiling.

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      1. Yes, they are! We were lucky to be there in November when there were very few tourists around. None of the sites were crowded and a couple of them were completely empty except for us. It was a great opportunity to really soak in the ethereal quality 🙂

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