Today is the day, ladies and gentlemen, that I have been waiting for. The day we reached Ravenna. This place was a source of power and a focal point of the reborn Roman empire in the West under Justinian. It wasn’t too last, because shortly after he took back Italy and much of the territory the Western empire had left in shambles, the Byzantine empire faced numerous problems of it’s own. That included a bout of the plague and renewed hostilities on their own borders. What they left in Ravenna was a remarkable mix of Eastern and Western art that is literally breathtaking. Photos do not do this place justice. If you ever have the chance, go and see it for yourself. True, I liked Milan and I love simplicity in art, but there are times where beauty overwhelms your own personal preferences and this place is really just that beautiful. I took a lot more pictures of it than I’m going to post, so as always if more pictures are desired in any respect, please let me know and I will consider an addendum post after the last official post, trees of Italy, is out. With no further rambling, let’s get this on.
We arrived in Ravenna in the early afternoon. I was so very excited that I about dashed off all by myself. Then I got distracted by this gate, specifically the stone work on each side of the gate. Not sure where my picture of the other side went.
I wanted a shot of thee wall to the right as well. It looked Roman to me, though of course the town is really more known for its more Eastern art and architecture. It is important to remember that this was a seat of power in the West for a long time.
Huh. I guess I did get shots of the other side.
Now that is cool. I hope you can tell I was pretty ramped up too see this. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this was the highlight of the trip for all of use. For me, I had been looking forward to it. For my parents? They would never forget it.
I was so excited that the streets seemed kind of magical to me. This town is a bit like Milan, to be honest. Nothing fancy, but it was such nice vibrant colors and the houses are just different enough to avoid tedium.
Yet another hammer and sickle.
This was the street that led to the church we were trying to get to. It was really depressing to see.
Hammer and sickle…and…alien wearing armor made of garbage cans? Ok, that was an interesting choice if nothing else. Also, is that alien on life support…from himself?
This was like…the alley where the graffiti artists go to argue with their spray paint.
Another revolution, and also one that “Luso Gay” with a heart next to it. So is someone gay for Luso or is this an insult? I’m confused.
More of the same, but that’s not why you’re here, is it?
This is why you’re here. Just look at that design. The borders are so elegant, the center doesn’t ever repeat itself in any part, yet it still maintains a sort of symmetry. The designs are flawless, elegant, but certainly not over simplified. And this is the floor. And the whole floor is like this. Look beyond at the next design! And even beyond the lower borders of this picture. Dear God, this is the floor. This amount of attention and care was given to the floor.
One of the stone caskets inside the church, I believe, there were certainly plenty outside.
Sad faded paint. Even in a place like Ravenna. Especially because a place like Ravenna.
Again, the floor! The design here is certainly simpler than the rest of the church in places, but it’s still the most awesome floor I’ve ever seen. How many times can I make a statement like that and have it mean something?
I wanted a shot from the floor towards ceiling for scope. In terms of sheer size, this is not the largest church I had been to. The monastery in Padova takes that award, for the huge ceiling and the massive pillars, but it’s still fairly large. And there is just so much art here.
This is, I believe, one of the side domes. I got sidetracked on my way to the main goodies, and who could blame me? This place puts more effort into it’s floor than some places do in the entire building.
There it is, the front of the church. It took my breath away. I stood there with my mouth hanging open like an idiot for about two minutes, literally.
This is the last shot of the floor. I promise.
A shot from a little further back for scope and to catch the light of the windows. Again, I had to stand here for a few minutes and just take it all in.
The ceiling above where the main altar iis. Hence the four evangelists and the lamb in the center.
The front piece of the dome. I’m still a bit overwhelmed by how beautiful the front of this church is.
This is the border going around the whole arch that separates the altar from the rest of the church. The apostles go from either side to the top where Jesus is the centerpiece.
Both sides of the wall were covered with scenes from the bible. Taking pictures was very, very difficult, so I am giving you the ones that turned out well. Any requests for more will require me to dip into the ones I wasn’t happy with, but some of them are ok. The details make it hard to get a sharp focus with my hands shaking so badly.
A good shot of the apostles on the left, along with part of one of the scenes, and a few of the Saints they added to the wall next to the apostles.
Another closer shot of the dome. I didn’t like the details in the first one, especially once I noticed the red and blue things above their heads.
And here it is, the most reproduced image from this entire church. And I only took one shot of it. This is the only shot of Justinian that I took the entire time that I was there. I’m ashamed. Still, it is very cool, even in this shot.
The best fruit of my efforts to get as many of the apostles in one shot as I could.
Eventually, I gave up and just tried for a decent shot of the whole wall. Thankfully, this one turned out alright. Detail shots were just not in my favor today.
The ceiling again, this time with the apostles and Jesus to the left. I actually sat down and leaned back on the floor to get this shot.
Another detail of a scene from the bible on the walls that turned out fairly well, overall.
Another shot of the wall, this time including a few bible scenes and the pillars over to the left.
Here I finally noticed the insides of the arches. And the lambs in the center with the cross. This place is a sensory overload, and I’m not even an artist.
I wanted one last shot from far back as I could get. You may think it’s not worth it, but take a look at the walls on the right and the left. Oh yeah. It was worth it.
I wish I could tell you this was the last picture of the floor. I really do. Still, the design here was worth a shot.
Ok, this is the last picture of the floor. Today. But seriously, this tile-work is amazing. How many hours must it have taken to not only design, but build and somehow make fairly seamless a floor that has so many different designs on it?
And beyond the church was the courtyard.
It had a lot of these. Not the lambs on either side. I say that because the next one is very different.
Much smoother in this one, huh? But the same style remains in the center.
Another of my favorite pieces of stone-work. Any help on the symbols, Miss. Cobwebs?
This is a smaller building off of the main church. And thus is the best shot of the ceiling I got.
This is the show that I had to try quite a few times.
Hey, everybody! I know what this is now! It’s the old testament tabernacle. I’ve read enough of Bede to have that image plastered in my head for a lifetime.
Finally managed to get a detail shot of this part. Many failures were required.
There were four figures on either side of the dome. I was unable to get a good shot of the other two.
And that is the church from the outside, I believe, on the way back to the car.
Heraldry with a dragon! Come on guys! Dragons are cool! Anyways, that’s enough for now. I hope you all are looking forward to the next post. Next time we start in on the Florence posts. I have to work on separating the pictures to figure out how many days it will take, but my guess is that it will be around four. After that, things will really start winding down. There was only one big day after that, so this little special feature is really starting to wind down. I do hope that you enjoyed it. I took so many pictures, and I’m happy I got some good use out of them. Next time, Florence~