Monday, September 28, 2009

Ravenna Italy - Basilica of San Vitale

I had business in the north and took the time to revisit Ravenna. In the Basilica of San Vitale there are 6th-century mosaics which are among the most beautiful in the world. This is from a time before Islam and way before the Protestant Reformation, a time when Rome was well into its decline and Ravenna, being closer to Constantanople, formerly Byzantzium, was ascending in importance. The mind reels with not only the pure beauty of the art but also its significance in history, the history itself.

There was a metal detector going into the place. I guess it was a gun-free zone - also hammer-free I would imagine.


  1. I've got some broad general knowledge on that period of history, but the details are hazy.

    Interesting that this small corner of Italy became a part of the tug-of-war between the remnants of the Western Empire and the still-powerful Eastern Empire.

    Also interesting is the difference between the mutability of human kingdoms and the sometimes-surprising endurance of their physical relics. Of course, the fact that many ancient peoples used stone and masonry to build meant that the structures would last for a long time.

  2. karrde, I was thinking that very thing while looking at the mosaics, which by the way don't come across very well in the video, you have to see 'em in person.

    The building was constructed in the 6th century. In some parts of the church there are frescoes that are all but faded away to nothing. But those mosaics look like they were constructed last year. It's absolutely mind boggling.