Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ravenna Italy

We woke up to a beautiful sunny day in Ravenna. We are staying two nights at the Ostello Galletti Abbiosi.  After a nice breakfast in the hotel, we headed out into the old city.

Ravenna is a busy modern city that is slowly discovering its past. Since WWII it has begun to redisover its vast art treasures and the incomparable mosaics which have made it famous all over the world.

Our first stop was Sant Apollinare Nuovo.  The basilica was built in the late 5th or early 6th century by Theodoric as a church for Arian worship dedicated to Christ the Redeemer.


The bell tower was built in the 9th or 10th century and is 38 meters high.  



Mosaic scenes describing the life of Christ adorn the walls and ceiling of the basilica.


Brandon keeps himself occupied with his new Nintendo DSi.  Actually, it wasn't just games keeping him occupied.  He spend much of his time using the camera feature to take his own pictures.  


Mosaics are everywhere in Ravenna, even over doorsteps of citizens homes.  


Mosaics have also been incorporated into the street signs of Ravenna.

The next stop on our tour of Ravenna mosaics was the Museo Arcivescovile.  The museo houses a small collection of relics.  We visited only for a few minutes before moving on.  


The Duomo, completed in 1743.  

Located next to the Duomo is the Neonian Baptistery.  This circular building was built in the 4th or 5th centuries.  It is a simple, octagonal brick building with four large niches.  The mosaics inside the Baptistery were completed in the mid 5th century.  


I love the simple detail work and patterns


Ceiling of the Baptistery



The details are amazing for such simple artwork




Bell tower of the Duomo

From the Baptistery, we headed across the old town to see the Basilica Di San Vitale and the Mausoleo di Galla Placidia.  


Along the way we passed a parking area named after a famous American president.  We also stopped at a chocolate shop to buy some tasty chocolate eggs.  


Mosaic sign outside one of many studios in Ravenna


Mosaic in a shop window.

Just down the street we stopped inside a mosaic studio to see one of the artists at work.  These are two of his pieces:


Shiny glass tub basin


Roman inspired design


This cool car was sitting outside the Basilica.  I don't know what it is?


This was spray painted in many places around town.  Apparently there is controversy about the zoo or a potential zoo?

The Basilica di San Vitale, completed in 548 by Bishop Maximian.  This basilica boasts a very strong eastern influence.  


Above the alter

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Floor mosaics


The dome (16 mt in diameter) were frescoed in 1780 by the Bolognese artists Barozzi and Gandolfi and by Venetian painter Guarana.




More floor mosaics


Mosaic above the alter



And more mosaic floor patterns

Located behind the basilica is Galla Placidia's Mausoleum.  It is the oldest of its kind left intact and was built in the 5th century.  The exterior of the building is a very simple brick design.  The interior is quite the opposite of the exterior.  It is lavish and elaborately decorated with mosaics.  



Ceiling mosaics in the mausoleum

We were hungry for lunch at this point, so we found a nice trattoria just outside the basilica and enjoyed some pasta dishes.  


Another mosaic street sign


And some mosaic accented planters.  

We wanted to visit one last church, San Apollinare in Classe.  It is located about 5km out of town, so we had to pickup our car at the hotel to drive there.  It was built in 549.  




Impressive mosaic work above the alter.  

Katrina was tired, so she and Brandon went back to the room for a nap.  I wandered back to a mosaic shop we had spotted earlier in the day - annafietta mosaico contemporaneo .  The shop was overwhelming with pieces of art, mirrors, frames and a whole room of supplies.  I realized that I must have a project in mind before I can shop for materials.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Villa Romana del Tellora, Sicily

On our last full day in Sicily, we were exploring the back roads of the southeast area when we spotted signs for Villa Romana del Tellora.  We decided to follow the signs and check it out.  

This is a low-key collection of Roman ruins, located on some back farm roads nestled among citrus orchards.  It was a pleasant surprise.  Not much of the villa remains, but many of the mosaics are still intact.  








These two mosaics above are not original Romans mosaics.  These two were completed by students of the mosaic school.  The Villa offers courses in mosaicing.  I wish I had know this a year ago.  I would have loved to taken one of the 4 days courses.  



Two more mosaics from another section of the villa