Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ravenna 2

a very decorative capital

San Vitale, Ravenna, the mother of all mosaics. I just realized that I didn't take too many pictures. After seeing the mosaics in Sicily, these pale in comparison but I also just realized that these predates those in Sicily by hundreds of years. Wow! These, in Ravenna were done in the 5th and 6th century, the ones in Sicily dates around the 12th century. These even predates those in the Haggai Sophia in Istanbul if San Vitale was the prototype for the Haggai Sophia. (are you still with me?) What makes San Vitale so significant is its association with the Roman Empire, the Barbarians and the Byzantium Empire, all having ruled Ravenna respectively. Today San Vitale is quiet and there are a few diehard American tourists like us roaming the place. Ravenna is not important on the tourist circuit. San Vitale is almost empty unlike the crowds in Sicily, all hungry to get a glimpse of the magnificent mosaics in places like Monreale, outside of Palermo (see my posting on Sicily, the first trip), the Palatine chapel in Palermo, La Matorana in Palermo and the duomo in Cefalu. (read my postings on my first trip to Sicily in this blog). The mosaics in Monreale is magnificent and almost cover the church from wall to wall to ceiling and they have undergone massive restoration. The Palatine chapel was undergoing restoration at the time of my visit in March 2007 but they did let us see part of it, those they were not working on. In fact a lot of monuments in Sicily is undergoing restoration, so when you visit, you might not see some of them. Sicily is well worth the trouble anytime.

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