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15 thoughts on “Ravenna: Enchanted by the Beauty of Mosaics”

  1. The mosaics of the Basilica di San Vitale are incredibly detailed and beautiful! I also love the colors — the touch of green somewhat gives this site a different feel compared to other Byzantine churches I’ve been to. But those cobalt blue mosaic tiles of the Mausoleum of Placidia really stole my attention. It’s incredible to think of how much Ravenna has in terms of ancient heritage. I always enjoy your posts from little towns across Europe as well as places that are not usually included in most people’s itineraries.

    1. Thank you, Bama! The number of cultural heritages in Ravenna is indeed surprising. Aside from the UNESCO sites, there are like 2-3 museums about mosaics (unfortunately didn’t have time to see those). What I found fascinating is that most of these artworks are original. Being overlooked is not so bad after all 🙂

  2. What a wonderful write up of your visit to Ravenna. I haven’t heard much of the town before, and as Bama said in the comments, I also enjoy your posts from smaller towns and not just big, popular tourist attractions that are more well-known. The architecture and patterns on the mosaics from the basilica to the mausoleum to the museum are stunning. Looks like there is quite a fair bit of blue and yellow hues, reminiscent of royalty – and all tell stories about the ancient past. Interesting to read that visitors flock to admire the Byzantine archbishop’s ivory throne at the Archiepiscopal Museum. It sounds very valuable indeed, preserved through the ages. Hope all is well with you, Len 🙂

    1. Good eyes! Yellow and blue are indeed the dominant colors in most monuments. They represent not only royalty but also wealth because gold and blue stones (probably lapis lazuli) are expensive. The only exception is San Vitale which has a lot of green.

      That throne is indeed impressive. But if you compare it to ivory artworks in Asia, it’s still less elaborate. Perhaps, Byzantine artists were not familiar with the material 😛

      Thanks for the kind words, Mabel! Finally, I can click the publish button again, after a few month of hiatus 🙂

  3. Absolutely marvellous! Then mosaics in the basilica are just so beautiful! I love your photos and descriptions!

  4. Oh these are just thrilling; the design, the colours, the extraordinary workmanship. I remember the first time I saw mosaics like this was in St Marks in Venice and was completely astounded.
    I do love the delicious irony of Christ as a victorious warrior dressed in Roman armor. Too funny.

    1. At first, I thought the mosaic depicting an an archangel. The pose and the armor look just like Michael. But when I read the description, I couldn’t keep myself from smiling. Jesus in the uniform of his torturer? No way 🙂

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    Ulli from Berlin

  6. What a marvellous article Len, it looks like you found some stunning mosaics of your own. I really didn’t know all that much about Ravenna, so this was really enlightening all-round. The historic buildings you toured and the art within clearly made for a fabulous period of exploring. Your photography is excellent, especially the little details you hone in on along the way such as that stunning lamb sculpture.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Leighton! Yes, I did find some magnificent mosaics in Ravenna 🙂 But the style is slightly different from those in Istanbul (most notable is the golden background). The only exceptions are two mosaics depicting Emperor Justinian and his wife inside San Vitale Cathedral.

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