On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
These photos are from the first of two side trips – this one to Ravenna. You go to Ravenna for mosaics, and it’s worth a special trip. These photos are from four sites, all within walking distance of each other.
The first stop was the Baptistery of Neon, built towards the end of the 5th century C.E. Appropriately, this scene in the dome is John the Baptist baptizing Jesus.
Another photo from the Baptistery.
This is a much different site in Ravenna. These are much earlier mosaics and more Roman influenced.
This is the Mausoleo di Galla Placidia. Galla Placidia was the half-sister of Emperor Honorius, who was responsible for construction of many of Ravenna’s buildings. It’s this little tiny space and you’re right in the middle of these amazing mosaics. This scene is the Good Shepherd and, of course, his sheep. Also, the ceiling is awesome.
More from the Masoleo de Galla Placidia.
This is the main event, the Basilica di San Vitale, which dates to 547 C.E. It’s awe-inspiring, just as the designers planned it. There are saints and scenes from the Bible, and the emperor Justinian and his wife.
More from the basilica.
And one more from the basilica. I could have spent a lot more time there, but we had a bus to catch.
I would love to go to Ravenna. Thanks for the pictures.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
isn’t Ravenna where Rick Steves recommends you stay if you want to see Venice? Make Ravenna the base and Venice the day trip?
I almost expected the little mosaics to be in Greek. Definitely looks more of that eastern Mediterranean style of art.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: I don’t know but it’s hard to go wrong wherever you stay. There are just so many things to see in Venice, especially if you love art.
I cannot get over the craftsmanship. Absolutely stunning.
These are wonderful. Thank you.
Look at those mosaics! How absolutely gorgeous!
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
Interesting. If you’re just seeing the main part of the city, and don’t want to wander, I guess you could do Venice in a day, but you’d be missing a lot. On the other hand, I know there’s a lot in Ravenna we didn’t see.
Thanks for the tip on Ravenna! I’ve luckily been to Venice once, but haven’t heard of Ravenna. Great pics!
Chacal Charles Calthrop
I think the tomb of Galla Placida was my favorite building in Italy – the scale was so intimate, the colors were so bright, the sense of an ancient peace so close. Ravenna was amazing! Thanks you for this.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@randy khan: looking at the map, I probably got it wrong— he often recommends staying in a smaller, nearby city and commuting for tourism. Stay in Versailles, take the train into Paris, for example
@randy khan: Beautiful mosaics, and your photos are great.
We stayed in Venice for 4 days, most of it with a Rick Steves tour, the first day and a half on our own. We took a boat out to Murano to see the glass, and I especially wanted to find some mosaic trinkets, because many years ago Murano was also renowned for tiny mosaics in brooches and bracelets.
I found one shop that had a single mosaic bracelet and I bought it for my niece, but I suspect it was made in China.
We also got to see glassblowers and their showrooms, which is the main thing we went there to see.
I studied Ravenna while a student long ago and have always wanted to visit. You showed us things I never imagined, increasing my determination to visit when we can do these things again. Inshallah.
Thank you for sharing your memories and photos!
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
Ah, I get it.
@Chacal Charles Calthrop:
The tomb is a really amazing little space – so intimate and something wonderful wherever you look.
I love looking at mosaics and imagining I’m the kind of person that could do that work. There are so many Roman mosaics to look at, and any number of gorgeous mosques and other buildings in the Islamic world.
I had no idea there were any examples of Christian mosaics of this age and quality still standing and I have fallen head over heels for Mausoleo di Galla Placidia.
Just watched a video by a guy speaking Italian (I don’t) just to see all the other panels and rooms. So much blue? Wasn’t that a hard color to find/make, or was it red? Anyway, just amazing and I would like a VR machine and a recording of the chapel immediately so I can see every tiny square.
Tidbits from Wikipedia:
@randy khan: Venice at night is wonderful. One night we went for a gelato probably in Zattere (it was seven+ years ago) and the day trippers and the cruise ship people were all gone.
Just a completely different experience. The vaporetto (at least away from the Grand Canal) are much quieter at night. Our hotel also served breakfast along Canale di Cannaregio, and it was a joy to watch the morning goods barges delivering all sorts of things to the local bodegas and cafes, while having a coffee and just gearing up for the day.
Our hotel wasn’t cheap, sure, but we chose the least expensive room in a mid-tier (‘three star’ by the official rating system) hotel and dispensed with views from the room, since we had plenty to see (the room and bath each had a window, but on tiny alleys on the lowest floor. Very quiet that way!)
A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan)
OMG the mosaics! Fabulous! I had no idea what Ravenna was like. Thank you so much for these photos.
@A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan): Ravenna in Ohio is a nice but rather dull little town. Interesting to see what its founders had aspired to.
Stunning artwork. I was staggered in Venice at the detail & complexity of paintings on the ceilings of the government chambers and palaces. Still don’t know why they expected people to spend a lot of time looking up… The detail of the Ravenna mosaics is incredible—they look like paintings until you’re close up. If you haven’t yet seen the mosaics of Villa Romana del Casale in Sicily. I highly recommend adding a visit to your list…
Mike in Oly
These are wonderful!! Thank so much.