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Private: The Mosaics Of Ravenna, A Unesco World Heritage Site

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The Mosaics Of Ravenna, A Unesco World Heritage Site

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It's all about the art of mosaics - the Early-Christian and Byzantine mosaics and the new.

Ravenna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and not to be missed.

Ravenna,the city associated with Porto Corsini, is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and just a 30-minute ride from the port of Porto Corsini. Our familiarity with the Emilia-Romagna region comes from our fascination with robust, distinctive and delicious cuisine but it was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until that empire collapsed in 476 and is famous for much more than its food.

Those in the know are also familiar with its 1,500-year-old churches, decorated with best-in-the-West Byzantine mosaics outside of Istanbul. Piazza del Popolo is usually the focus from which the highlights stem. This square was built in about 1500, during a 60-year period when the city was ruled by Venice. Under the Venetian architecture, the people of Ravenna gather here as they have for centuries. Most sights are within a few minutes' walk of Piazza del Popolo.

One major stop is the Basilica de San Vitale, which at 1400 years old, is impressive enough to stand alone. Its incredible mosaics still send the message of the peace and stability which the emperor was trying to send to his citizens. Your guide will talk about the scenes of the apostles that line the church walls and ceilings, including the story about Emperor Justinian's wife Theodora, who learned to use her charms to gain power with and over her husband. This church became the prototype for Constantinople's Hagia Sophia in Istanbul which was built 10 years later.

Also on your itinerary is a visit to the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia which is just across the courtyard from the Basilica. Humble in its appearance, it holds the oldest, and many think, the best mosaics in Ravenna. Very little natural light comes into this tribute to those who have passed but that light brings a special glow to the very early Christian symbolism as the light filters through the alabaster panels highlighting the figurative designs.

A third highlight of the tour is the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, a 6th-century church in eastern Ravenna. Named for Ravenna's first bishop, it is famed for its two side walls full of figurative mosaics dating from c.500 (under the Arian king Theodoric) and c.560 (under Catholic administration). Again a breathtaking experience to see the way these mosaics were designed - and so long ago.

Along with these stops you will have time to visit a mosaic master at work in a studio. This visit will help to demonstrate the difficulty of the work you viewed earlier, giving you an appreciation for the art.

Some free time will round out the tour time until you return to your starting point.

- This tour requires you to be able to walk uneven street surfaces.
- Food, beverages, gratuities are not included in this tour.
- Entrance fees and mosaic demonstrations are included in the tour.

- Please note that on the first Sunday of each month many tourist sites in Italy have free admission. This can often result in long lines. If you are staying at a hotel, it may be beneficial to avoid booking a tour involving inside visits to major attractions on these days. If you have questions, contact ShoreTrips.

Days offered: 7 days a week

  • 08:45 AM, duration: 4 hours