Ravenna is one of the most historical cities in Northern Italy, thanks to its spectacular 5th- 6th-century monuments that still stands to date with eye-catching mosaics. Known as the city of Mosaics, Ravenna was once the western capital of the late Roman Empire and is now home to the eight UNESCO World Heritage sites.
A day trip to Ravenna is very interesting and one that involves a lot of video taking, photography and amusement. You’ll be marveled beyond imagination by the ancient art and history and how people were able to create such magnificent portraits from patterns of tiles and stones. Some of the monuments and churches remain fresh and undisturbed and one can easily feel the passage of time with the nostalgic mode autographed on the early Christian arts and symbols.
If you’re planning a trip to Italy, you really can’t afford to miss a tour to Ravenna. Even if you’re daring enough, your conscience won’t allow you to pass the scenic beauty of museums, historic centers, ancient tombs, etc. Here are some of the must-visit Mosaic centers of Ravenna. Read on to get started.
Basilica di San Vitale.
This is one of the most popular among the eight UNESCO sites. The beauty of its surrounding attracts the curious mind and a step into the building proves more than you can possibly imagine. Here, you get to see everything in all the aspects of the building; from the high-walls & floors, arches to the ceilings. Anywhere you stand you’ll have a perfect shot of colorful mosaics.
San Vitale’s mosaics include biblical art from the Old Testament such as Abraham & the Sacrifice of Isaac, the story of Moses and the burning bush, etc. On the side walls are mosaics of the four main disciples: Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John- under their respective symbols; angle, lion, ox, and eagle.
The Byzantine mosaics are the largest and well-preserved ancient marvels you can find in Basilica di San Vitale. The collection of these mosaics are second only to those found in Constantinople- so if you can’t be in Turkey to witness the same, it’s better to take more time here. Apart from mosaics and fabulous paintings, early Christian art can also be spotted on the apse and on different sections of the archway.
Galla Placidia Mausoleum
According to UNESCO, this is the best and well preserved of all the mosaic monuments in Ravenna. This Mausoleum was initially a martyrium rather than a tomb and is believed to have been used as a resting place for the daughter of Roman Empire Theodosius I, Galla Placidia.
The inside structure of this monument offers an exquisite view. The upper parts of the walls and domes are furnished with Roman mosaics on a blue ground augmented with star and floral motifs. The lower parts, on the other hand, are decorated with ancient plaquettes of yellow marble. Most decorations in the building are symbolic meaning you might need a guide to understand some portraits.
Light enters the monument via the tiny windows coated with thin layers of alabaster. From the symbolic crosses to doves & animals, fixed on the walls; one can clearly appreciate the painstaking care and prowess of the early architectures.
Baptistery of Neon
This monument was built and completed towards the end of the 5th century. It’s an octagonal tower with its eight sides symbolizing the seven days of the week and the 8th one represents the day of Resurrection.
Here you’ll see a variety of mosaics; those in the dome shows the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist. The surrounding mosaics depict the 12 disciples in a fluid style borrowed from the pagan Greek art. What looks like a collection of lovely tiles and bright tiny glasses, on close inspection, transform into an arresting image of Jesus or a choir of angles.
The Baptistery of Neon is regarded by historians as the most relevant and complete example of the early Christian baptistery.
The above monuments are just but a few of the eight UNESCO sites that attract people from all corners across the world. Most drawings and mosaic portraits in the churches and monuments are inspired by the real and ancient Christian life. A good history of dates and events have also been preserved to accompany vivid pictures and images.