Right: The stunning dome of the Basilica di San Vitale. that warrant a stay of at least a few days. The UNESCO sites can be covered in a day or two as most of them are within walking distance of one another. The ticket office near the Basilica di San Vitale sells single tickets that cover entrance to five of the eight sites. I started my walk at the 1st-century Basilica di San Vitale, one of the most treasured examples of early Christian and Byzantine art in Western Europe. The basilica, with its towering columns and rich, vividly-coloured mosaics, is absolutely awe-inspiring. Right next to the basilica is another UNESCO site, the Mausoleo di Galla Placidia. This mausoleum contains three sarcophagi, amongst which a sarcophagus that contains the remains of Galla Placidia, the daughter of a Roman Emperor. UNESCO describes this mausoleum as one of the best-preserved mosaic monuments, and rightfully so. The intricate mosaics, stunning depictions and striking colours are jaw-dropping beautiful. Cole Porter reputedly composed his famous song, “Night & Day,” after a visit here in the 1920s. I can imagine why. As you enter, you’re greeted by a rich blue ceiling with glittering gold stars. It’s incredible, once you think about it, how much effort was made to create these masterpieces using miniscule, coloured tiles! The other UNESCO sites I visited included the impressive Battistero Neoniano, the little but no less impressive Capella di San Andrea (both of which are adjacent to Ravenna’s Duomo) and the cavernous Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo.
Left: Entering the Mausoleo di Galla Placidia.
Published on Mar 18, 2014