Photo diary: Tuesday in Ravenna

October 11, 2011

our tour guide, Luciana, led us around town on her bicycle

first stop: the Basilica di Sant'Apollinare Nuovo with its spectacular mosaics

mosaics being Ravenna's claim to fame and major industry, there are studios all over town -- we stopped into one tiny storefront and got to see up close how gigantic pictures are built from shards of stone, marble, and glass no bigger than a fingertip

next stop: Mauseleo di Galla Placida, drab on the outside maybe....

but stunning inside -- dense, dark, colored depictions of saints and martyrs, heaven and hell, illuminated mostly alabaster windows

it's adjacent to the Basilica di San Vitale

this is one of those gasp-inducing public buildings that people come to Italy to gape at -- incredible density of mosaics and frescoes, from marble floor to high domed ceiling

we also made a stop at the tomb of Dante, who finished The Divine Comedy in Ravenna

judging from her mechanical delivery, Luciana has given this tour hundreds of times -- she had the disconcerting habit of beginning each spiel with "Ladies and gentlemen...." The first time she said it, she looked around and realized there were no ladies in our group -- but she didn't bother to edit herself after that.when we got back to Bologna, the Festival of San Petronio (the city's patron saint) was in full swing -- in Piazza Maggiore, Roman connected with his pen pal, Mauricio, to watch the fireworks


the display windows for some of the design studios in Bologna look like sets for a David Lynch movie

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