Ravenna , stunning mosaics and delightful Piadina

Ravenna a small but important city of Emilia Romagna.

At first sight it can looks just like any other Italian city with cobblestoned streets and lively squares but after a tour with a good local tourist guide you’ll discover its incredible history and beauty .

Even if I don’t live far from this city the first time I visited Ravenna was few weeks ago.  My guide, a woman,  an history teacher of an  high school of the city, started  the tour from a small shop and laboratory of mosaics .  The production of mosaics is an ancient tradition for Ravenna that from the Byzantines to date it has never been interrupted, and it’s still possible to find laboratories and schools.Laboratorio mosaici 1000
Indeed its mosaics  are considered the best in the world after Istanbul, they are marvelous vestiges of a time when Ravenna was part of the Byzantine empire.  These wonders have been designated as World Heritage sites.

During our walking tour through the city  we stopped at San Francesco that is one of the churches that best represent a particular aspect of the city . Over the years Ravenna has been affected by a widespread land subsidence process and  churches, that were heavy, subsided .  But the problem in Ravenna  is that only a few feet deep there are aquifers, thus sinking the churches were flooded.   In San Francesco it’s still possible to see  water (and fishes) inside the apse.1024px-Ravenna,_s__francesco,_int_,_cripta_del_IX-X_sec__03

 We continued our tour visiting Dante’s tomb.  It’s funny and interesting all the story about Dante’s bones and how at the end they remained in Ravenna.tomba dante 1000

Then we went  to one of the most important place of the city : Basilica of San Vitale,  designed like an octagon  it’s a unique example in Italy.  There are no words to explain the good feeling I had entering this building. It’s really amazing! Mosaics shine and create a play of light and shade.Mosaici 1000

We continued to the  Mausoleum of Galla Placidia , adjacent to Basilica of San Vitale . It’s so terribly tiny that visitors have to enter in groups but so mesmerizing is the sight that greets them that nobody wants to leave.galla placidia 1000

Another important building for mosaics it’s S. Apollinare Nuovo. Because of the subsidence this church looks like it’s about to collapse because the walls are definitely deformed, but the mosaics are wonderful!

sant'apollinare nuovo 1000

At the end we had lunch with a delicious Piadina ! This is a specialty of Romagna , the coastal area of the region Emilia Romagna. It is a flatbread made with flour, salt, water and usually lard or sometimes olive oil. The Piadina from Ravenna is often thicker than others served in the region. It can be filled with cold cuts , sauces, vegetables , cheeses but the most typical filling is Parma ham , rucola (arucola) and squacquerone(a fresh , very soft cheese)  .

 I really love “crescione pomodoro e mozzarella” that is a piadina  filled before cooking  with  tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, in that way  bread and the stuffing cook all together. The result is amazing …. melted mozzarella, but be careful not to burn!

Crescione pomodoro 800