Ravenna, like Classe, saw many different rulers. Some, like Theodoric, were Barbarian. Others, like Justinian, were Roman. All, however, got to eat the amazing food that comes out of the region of Emila-Romagna: prosciutto di Parma, Parmeggiano and Reggiano as well as many other famous food stuffs originate from right around Ravenna. We didn't miss out on this delicious area of the country: I ordered gnocchi slathered in a parmesan cream sauce with bits of speck (the fatty parts of bacon), and split a bottle of white wine with friends:
Ravenna, of course, has much to offer other than food (although, for the most part, I really couldn't care less what else it had to offer...). It boasts many cool cloth shops and beautiful architecture:
It also has its fair share of other fun things, like Pringles machines:
Silly graffiti (the one on the right made me think of R.N.B. sooooo much for some reason):
And some kick-ass haircuts:
Oh yeah, and I guess there were also some cool artsy things. We visited a Neonian Baptistry that was octagonal and super cool:
which was interesting because it was tiled when Christianity was still relatively new. That explains both the naked Jesus in the ceiling mosaic, and the pagan river spirit who is creeping out behind him while John the Baptist baptizes Christ...
In the middle, there was a giant tub which tourists, myself included, through money into in the vain hope that it somehow betters their lives (I don't think my life can get any better, I am grateful everyday... I mostly did it because everyone else is doing it and I am a follower who succumbs to peer pressure).
The crafty Romans even built in plumbing, so they wouldn't have to have the slaves manually empty the tub (only fill it, and do whatever other grunt jobs they needed done)
There were also these stone sculptures, which had eyes that were a little too big, so they looked like Leela from Futurama, but I don't know if the photos show it well enough:
We visited an entirely mosaic-ed sarcophagus:
We then visited Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, which is in Ravenna.
It was originally built by Theodoric (haha its like Thea), but when Justinian (who's wife was named Theodora... haha its like Thea too... except not as funny because she was a prostitute before she was Queen of the Holy Roman Empire) conquered, he had a portrait of himself hung in the church and commissioned the re-do of certain elements of the mosaic. While the processions were Barbarian heads of state originally, he had names of Saints hung above them to re-designate them as Roman figure. Where there now appear to be curtains of sorts, hanging in the arch-doorways, if you look closely you can see hands on the columns in between these arches. Under Theodoric, there were more people inside, but Justinian had them retiled. Its unclear whether he left the hands because its easier to simply do a straight line up then retile the hand section, or more likely whether he left them to remind everyone that he had conquered, and therefore was not to be screwed around with.
Last, we went to Santa Croce (and while it is pronounced "Sah-n-ta Cro-che", it means Saint Cross, not Saint Crotch), and boy was it stunning. From the outside it looks fairly simple:
The interior gardens are slightly more complex and beautiful:
But the true beauty was the interior - it even had mosaic floors, mosaic alters, and a frescoed ceiling:
The patterns and colors reminded me of wallpaper that ZEK took from Grumpy Carrie, the Arts and Crafts councilor, the summer we worked at Camp Norwich, and I thought she would totally be all over this place.
In any case, Ravenna was great, and while my trip to Sicily for next weekend was cancelled, I think I will be going to the Amalfi Coast, touring around the Isle of Capri and boating through the Blue Grotto, so come back for a post soon!