, and Saint Apollinare, its patron saint: read here what it can offer you, it's a dream city!
Saint Apollinare lived between the 2nd and 3rd century. The information about him is not very well documented, according to some traditions, he might even have been a disciple of Saint Peter the apostle, (although this contrasts with the above mentioned dates.
He was the first bishop of Ravenna, preacher of the Gospel in the Emilia-Romagna region and died as a martyr. Soon he was venerated as a martyr and in 549 the splendid Basilica of Saint Apollinare in Classe, dedicated to him, was consecrated. It also contained the saint's tomb. In the 8th century a pre-existing basilica was restored and renamed Sant'Apollinare nuovo (new Saint Apollinare).
Here above is an image of Saint Apollinare, from the huge mosaic in the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe. The saint is represented as a shepherd of souls. Saint Apollinare himself and the sheep are tied together with a red thread representing Christ's blood that unites the believers to the church. You can see it starting from the saint's right hand and arriving to the neck of the sheep at his right (the thread joins many more sheep that cannot be seen in this picture). The other sheep has the thread around one of its legs.
Ravenna is in the Emilia-Romagna region, in central Italy. It has about 134,600 residents and it is a few kilometres away from the Adriatic sea. Centuries ago it was by the sea, but little by little all the soil and the debris taken there by the Po and other rivers have created more Italian territory and now the city is a bit further from the sea. The same happened to Classe, which once was the city port, while now is a suburb outside it. There is where the Basilica of Saint Apollinare in Classe is.
As you can see here, this city's jewels are its mosaics, an amazing series of masterworks, I fell in love with those masterpieces when I visited it.
Eight of its monuments, built over 1500 years ago, are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Yet, it's not among the most famous cities of Italy. I recommend you to visit it, it's really unique. Below you can see just a few examples of some of the mosaics from San Vitale's church (the richest in decorations) and the Basilica of Saint Apollinare Nuovo.
All mosaics are made of thousands and thousands of very small "tessera" (square pieces of colored stones and other materials), to compose huge panels covering sometimes all the internal walls of a building, with countless shades of colors, placed so that they reflect the light coming from different points at different times of the day.
So the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (a tomb), has the inside walls and vaults all covered with a dark blue mosaic, to make a beautiful sky with sparkling stars and a few doves, a really peaceful setting.
Mosaics by night, from 20 June to 5 September, the Basilica of San Vitale, the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra and the exhibition Otium at San Nicolò, open their doors to the public from 9.00 to 11.30 pm so that they can be seen in a new light, with shows under the stars.
July-September: Ravenna Bella di Sera, Events and shows, evening shopping and market stalls
I luoghi dello Spirito e del Tempo (The places of Spirit and Time), concerts of classical music
July-August: Events at thel Planetarium, activities and lectures Festival Naturae, Film, tastes and splendour within a stone's throw from the sea
all year: 3rd Saturday and Sunday of each month: Exhibition-market of antiques and handicrafts
every month, 3rd Saturday and Sunday: Exhibition-market of natural and biological products
mid June-mid September and October-May, every Friday and December: also the following 2nd Saturday and Sunday: Art market stalls
all year: every day open air markets in different parts of the city
Enjoy your visit!
Don't miss the opportunity to visit Ravenna at any time of the year!