Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sightseeing in Ravenna

Ravenna is world renowned for it's early Christian churches. They were built around 550 A.D. They have gorgeous mosaics from that period and frescoes and other ornamentations from later periods. The most famous one is the basilica of St. Vitale.

Here are some of the mosaics and frescoes we saw.

We visited about 10 of the historical monuments in Ravenna. One of the interesting ones is Dante's tomb. Dante died in Ravenna in 1351, but about 200 years later the Florentines wanted Dante's body and a monk in Ravenna hid the body. In 1677 a father placed the body in a casket and when the Napoleonic laws were enacted the monks left the monastery and Dante's body was buried underneath a gate near the monastery. Then in 1865 the casket was found and Dante's remains were finally placed in an urn in this building built in 1780.

Ravenna became something of a backwater after it's port silted in around the year 751. The city has undergone a revival only since World War II. Today it is a bustling city with many ethnic groups. We had some Italian tacos for lunch and they are called piadina. They are a flat bread filled with meat and cheese (and sometimes vegetables). We really enjoyed ours.

Next we deviate from our master plan by riding to Ferrara, and then it's on towards the Lake District.

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