Monday, April 30, 2018

Must See In Ravenna, Italy - Preparing For Our Mediterranean Cruise


Ravenna, Italy is the seventh port on our Mediterranean cruise.  We arrive in Porto Corsini at 7:00 am and will be docked until 4:00 pm.   Porto Corsini is a small town with a beautiful beach.  It is right next to Marinara, the largest yacht marina of the Adriatic.  Ravenna is actually 20 minutes away by shuttle bus (I have been seeing a cost of $20 per person for a round trip ticket.)   One option we have is to check out Ravenna and the incredible mosaics that I hear are everywhere, and get back in time to spend an hour or two at the port town's beach before our ship leaves.   Another option from here would be to travel 90 minutes to and from Bologna, the larger city in this area, which would definitely be doable, but wouldn't give us time to do anything else.  

Port 7 - Ravenna (Option 1)

We will start by finding our way down Viale Farini to Piazzo del Popolo.   Only two blocks from this square are the two places we want to see most as they are both highly recommended, Basilica of San Vitale and Mausoleum of Galla Placida.  

Basilica of San Vitale.  Besides for the few frescoes, this 1,400 year old building is decorated entirely in mosaics.  The mosaics are so tiny that they blend into one another and give the illusion that they are paintings, which is what the artists intended.  Only the generous use of gold and the brilliant, shining colors give away the secret.

Mausoleum of Galla Placida.   According to UNESCO this mausoleum is "the earliest and best preserved of all mausoleums".   The marble sarcophagi are thought to be those of Galla Placidia, her husband and son.  Here we will look for Christ as the Good Shepard surrounded by sheep, the Apostles and the symbols of the four evangelists - the lion, eagle, ox and angel.

If we only see these two buildings, we will have seen the best of Byzantine mosaic art, which is what will go to Ravenna to see.  But there are three other sights that are included when you buy an admission ticket to the basilica and mausoleum.   We will definitely check them out also.

Neonian Baptistery is in the heart of the city.  This octagonal building is one of the oldest.  I will be looking for the mosaic of the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist here.

Basilica of Sant 'Apollinare Nuovo.   There are 3 rows of mosaics that decorate this Basilica.  On the upper right the mosaics depict Jesus' miracles and parables and on the right, the Passion and Resurrection.  The middle row is dedicated to saints, prophets and evangelists, 16 on each side.  The bottom row has the largest mosaics and show, on the left, the procession of the 22 virgins, led by the Three Magi, moving towards Madonnna and Child surrounded by four angels.  On the right we see the procession of 26 Martyrs, led by St. Martin, heading towards Christ and four angels.

Archiepiscopal Museum and Chapel.  The museum is located on the first and second floors of the Archiepiscopal Palace.  It holds the artwork of buildings that are now demolished.  We will see the most famous piece here which is the ivory throne of Maximian.  We will enjoy beautiful mosaic creations in the chapel.

After we have made the loop around Ravenna, which will probably take approximately 3 hours, we would love to get a picnic meal at the colorful covered market, Mercato Coperto, near the square before going back to Porto Corsini to enjoy the beach!

Bologna - (Option 2)

If we decide that Bologna has more to offer or if the weather is putting a damper on our beach plans, we will do the 3 hours of traveling to get there and back.  The first place we will head would be Piazza Maggiore where we will find many of Bologna's important buildings.

The Basilica di San Petronio is the 10th largest church in the world.  It is dedicated to the patron saint of Bologna, Saint Petronio  What is unusual about this building is that it was never finished so you will notice an odd front facade where the lower half features colored marble stone work and the upper half is bare brick.

Pallazo d'Accursio.  This palace is the city's town hall and is home to the Civic Art Collection.  We will look for the "Madonna of the Piazza with Child" that is on one part of the facade.

Palazzo del Podesta was built around 1200.  A second building was constructed along side when the Palazzo became too small to hold the many participants of the city's government.  The bottom floor of the Palazzo is a double open arcade called Voltone del Podesta.  We can find the statues of the town's patron saints here.

Palazzo Comunale - This has been the home of the Bologna city council.  On the second floor of this building, we can find a collection of 13th - 19th century paintings, sculpture and furniture.

We would then venture northwest of the square to get to Piazza del Nettuno which contains the famous Fountain of Neptune.

Other things we would like to do in Bologna would be to shop at La Piazzola Market.  This historic market has been held in Bologna for hundreds of years.  You can find anything and everything here for sale.  The vendors shouting at you to buy their wares adds to the lively atmosphere.   And we would like to find a place to eat Tortellini.  Tortellini is one of the most popular Italian foods in Bologna and Bologna is considered one the the best places to experience an authentic Tortellini dish.

I will definitely be posting about our vacation after it happens in September.  It could be a post about the sights and sounds of Ravenna or it could be all about the fun we had in Bologna.  I'm excited to find out what we finally decided!  Either way, we will have plenty of pictures to share and stories to tell of our visit.  


  




6 comments:

  1. Have fun and enjoy! Teresa from http://nanahood.com/10-things-disney-does-best

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  2. Wow it sounds like it will be so much fun! Thanks for sharing on To Grandma's House We Go!

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  3. I would love to see Italy being half Sicilian myself and I heard there are still some relatives out there, but alas I don't do boats. NO WAY... NO HOW... So you have fun and do make another post with all your pictures... or at least the good ones! ~hehehe~ HAVE FUN!

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    1. I will definitely be following up with details of our adventures in the Mediterranean. Maybe you can fly to Italy to visit your relatives one day!

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