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These are nice photos and I really appreciate showing us this beautiful ancient city of Ravenna with her strings of significant histories -
a total gem of Italy and of Christianity.
However, I just want to make a small correction which is and should have been St John the Evangelist,
a desciple of Jesus who was different from John the Baptist, a cousin and who baptized Jesus.
Thanks dude for this photo tour with a guide.:)


Leaving the train station and walking towards the center, I first encounter the church of San Giovanni Evangelista (St John the Baptist) a short distance away.
 

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These are nice photos and I really appreciate showing us this beautiful ancient city of Ravenna with her strings of significant histories -
a total gem of Italy and of Christianity.
Thanks dude for this photo tour with a guide.:)
You're welcome, thank you in turn for the kind words and all the likes :eek:kay: There is more coming over the next days.

However, I just want to make a small correction which is and should have been St John the Evangelist,
a desciple of Jesus who was different from John the Baptist, a cousin and who baptized Jesus.
Ah yes :doh: Thanks a lot for pointing it out! I know these are two different saints, I just mistranslated the name in a moment of inattention :)
 

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Oustanding thread. The descriptions are very informative. The connection to Byzantium is fascinating.
 
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Map: 14

The theater occupies the right side of Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, which began to take shape in 1852 upon the completion of the building. In 1895, the head office of the Cassa di Risparmio of Ravenna was opened on the opposite side, on the site of older buildings belonging to the Church, which contributed furthermore to rehabilitating the degraded area:

Palazzo Cassa di Risparmio of Ravenna by Wasso H., on Flickr

Map: 16

The building is inspired by the Roman Renaissance palaces, and shows an impressive red brick facade bearing intricate terracotta decorations:

Palazzo Cassa di Risparmio of Ravenna by Wasso H., on Flickr
 

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Map: 16

In 1926, the new Post Office building was erected on the square (the large building covered in scaffoldings), in the place of the former 17th century Treasury, and joined to the Apostolic Legate Palace which would later become the Prefecture of Ravenna (the pinkish building in the back). The origin of the complex probably dates back to the end of the 13th century, but it was almost entirely rebuilt at the end of the 17th century as a result of the damage caused by a strong earthquake in 1688. It housed the church of Good Death, linked to a confraternity that was responsible for accompanying the condemned to their execution, which took place in the spot where the Alighieri Theater now stands.
In the middle of the square rises the statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi, unveiled in 1892, ten years after Garibaldi’s death. It was first placed in front of San Francesco church, then transported in 1936 to this square that was subsequently renamed after him.

Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi by Wasso H., on Flickr

Map: 17

I spot an intriguing little structure to the south, and take the narrow Via Dante Alighieri right of the Cassa di Risparmio palace to check it out:

Palazzo Cassa di Risparmio of Ravenna by Wasso H., on Flickr
 

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On the left, I’m pleasantly surprised to find an open door leading to a couple of charming cloisters, a spot of calm and refined beauty in the city’s historic center. These are the Old Franciscan Cloisters; they were purchased in 2001 by the foundation Cassa di Risparmio di Ravenna, which restored and embellished them. They were part of the convent built by the Franciscans in 1261 next to the church of San Francesco, however the surviving buildings are not the original ones; they date back to the 15th century instead, and bear the mark of the works carried out in the 17th century.

Map: 18

The northern cloister is surrounded by columns made of Istrian stone, red Verona marble and Greek marble, with a loggia on the first floor supported by brick pillars with terracotta capitals. In the middle there’s a puteal (wellhead) made of Istrian stone with two bas-relief amphorae and coats of arms:

The northern Franciscan cloister by Wasso H., on Flickr

Map: 19

The southern cloister, which remained with the Franciscan friars until 1810, is surrounded by white marble columns with Doric style capitals, and an Istrian stone well decorated with sculptures stands in the middle. A plaque commemorates the spot where in 1519 the monks made a hole to get to the ancient sarcophagus where Dante’s remains were located, and removed them to prevent them from being taken by the Florentines:

The southern Franciscan cloister by Wasso H., on Flickr

The southern cloister houses today the Museo Dantesco (Dante Museum). Opened in September 1921 during the celebrations for the 6th centenary of Dante Alighieri’s death, the museums aims at highlighting the role played in Dante’s life by the city of Ravenna, where the exiled poet spent his last days.
 

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Map: 19

The intriguing structure I spotted from Piazza Garibaldi stands at the end of the street right outside the cloisters, and turns out to be Dante Alighieri’s Tomb. It was commissioned by the cardinal Luigi Valenti Gonzaga with the aim of giving the poet a proper burial ground, and built between 1780 and 1782. Up until then, Dante’s remains had been preserved in a little chapel. After being kept hidden by the Franciscan friars for a long time in order to protect them from the Florentines who had claimed them, the remains were found in a nearby spot in 1865 during some renovation works, and they have been resting in the new tomb ever since. A notable interruption occurred during WW2, when they were transferred to the neighboring courtyard and buried under a mound of earth, to ensure that they wouldn’t be lost if Ravenna was hit by enemy fire.
A bas-relief portraying the poet and carved in 1483 by Pietro Lombardo was placed onto the wall in front of the tomb's entrance, while a bronze and silver wreath lies at the foot of the sepulchral ark, donated to the city by the victorious army after WW1:

Dante Alighieri’s tomb by Wasso H., on Flickr
 

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Map: 20

In the same area stands the Basilica di San Francesco. Originally dedicated to the Apostles and later to Saint Peter, its construction goes back to the mid-5th century AD. However, very little remains of the early Christian church, because of the frequent reconstructions that have modified the original shape of the building over time, culminating in the radical changes of the late 18th century. The Romanesque square bell tower dates back to the 9th/10th century. The Basilica owes its name to the Franciscan friars Minors who inhabited it between 1261 and 1810, and later again from 1949 up to the present day. In the Middle Ages, San Francesco was the favourite church of Polentani family, who ruled the city and were the hosts of Dante Alighieri. Consequently, the poet himself was probably a regular visitor of this church, where his funeral was celebrated in 1321:

San Francesco church, seen from next to Dante Alighieri’s tomb by Wasso H., on Flickr

Map: 21

As happened with most of the churches in Ravenna, the Basilica was many times elevated, and the original floor is now situated 3.6m below street level. Its façade is made of plain bricks animated by only one central mullioned window:

Facade of San Francesco church by Wasso H., on Flickr

The interior is also plainly decorated, but noticeable for an oratory-shaped crypt visible through a window situated under the altar and containing a 5th-century sarcophagus. The crypt floor is now permanently under water, but it’s still possible to catch a glimpse of the mosaic fragments that used to decorate the floor of the original church. I would have been curious to see the said crypt, but sadly the church was closed that day.
 

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Great collection of photos of such a beautiful and interesting city! I really appreciate your very detailed and informative posts. Thank you for sharing these pics with us! :eek:kay:
 

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Great collection of photos of such a beautiful and interesting city! I really appreciate your very detailed and informative posts. Thank you for sharing these pics with us! :eek:kay:
I'm glad you like the thread so much, thank you for following and supporting it :) This is probably my most successful thread up to date judging by the number of likes.

GREAT !!! THANK YOU FOR SHARING !!!
Thank you for all the likes :hug:
 

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Map: 22

I cross Piazza dei Caduti della Liberta and continue to the west, and shortly afterwards arrive to the large complex comprising the Cathedral of Ravenna, the Archiepiscopal Palace and the Neonian Baptistery:

The Cathedral of Ravenna and the Neonian Baptistery by Wasso H., on Flickr

I decide to do a quick tour of the Archiepiscopal Museum, since it’s included on the list of sights which the ticket I bought at the Sant’Apollinare Basilica gives the right to enter. It is located on the first and second floor of the Archiepiscopal Palace, and its collection consists of numerous artworks that belonged to the ancient cathedral and to other buildings now demolished. Unfortunately photography is prohibited inside the museum, so I don’t have any photos to share, but I’ll mention nonetheless its two most important highlights.

The first one is the ivory throne of Maximian, a bishop's throne that was probably made in Constantinople then brought to Ravenna for Maximianus, archbishop of the city between 546 and 556. The throne is among the most precious findings from the ancient world, with its wooden structure covered by finely engraved ivory panels. There were originally 16 panels on the seatback (9 of which are unfortunately missing) decorated with scenes from the life of Jesus and 10 on the armrests, while on the front part of the throne we find the four Evangelists and a medallion representing the "Lamb of God".

The museum also houses the St. Andrew Chapel, the only existing archiepiscopal chapel of the early Christian era that has been preserved intact to the present day, and one of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It was erected during the reign of Theodoric (late 5th - early 6th century) as a private oratory for Catholic bishops when Arianism was the main religion of the court. Originally dedicated to Christ, the chapel was then renamed and dedicated to Saint Andrew, whose relics were transported from Constantinople to Ravenna in the mid 6th century. The cross-shaped chapel is preceded by a small vaulted rectangular vestibule decorated with mosaics at the top. The iconography of the mosaic decoration shows an anti-Arian point of view, with Christ being represented as a warrior and frequently appearing in a dominant position in various places of the chapel.
 

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Map: 22

Exiting the museum, the next monument awaiting my visit is the Neonian Baptistery, one of Ravenna’s most ancient surviving monuments and also one of its UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

The Neonian Baptistery by Wasso H., on Flickr

It was commissioned by Bishop Urso and built at the beginning of the 5th century on the site of an older Roman bath complex. During the episcopacy of Neon (450 - 475) from whom it takes its name, the Baptistery underwent many restoration works that ended with the reconstruction of the cupola and the realization of the interior decoration still present today.

Map: 25

The brick building is octagonal in shape and has four external niches:

The Neonian Baptistery by Wasso H., on Flickr
 

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The interior consists of two overlapping rows of arches. Decoration-wise it’s divided into three tiers: the lower one covered with marble pieces, the middle one with stucco-works, while the upper section is adorned with mosaics. At the centre of the dome, a large medallion represents the Baptism of Christ in the river Jordan. This is one of the oldest known mosaic scenes of the subject. The images of the twelve Apostles, divided into two groups led by Saint Peter and Paul, revolve around the central medallion, standing out against a blue background. In the middle of the building, there is also an octagonal font of marble and porphyry rebuilt in the 16th century that still preserves some of its original elements from the 5th century, but sadly it was covered up for restoration works (the white structure):

Mosaics of the dome of the Neonian Baptistery by Wasso H., on Flickr
 

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The Duomo (Cathedral) next door is open, so naturally I decide to visit it, although it’s not by itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The present appearance of the Cathedral relatively recent; it was completely rebuilt in 1735 on the site of the 4th church of Hagia Anastasis (Holy Resurrection), called Basilica Ursiana after its founder, Bishop Ursus. The original building probably consisted of five naves punctuated by four rows of columns, and the original floor is now over 3 meters below ground level. The church was still very rich in the early Middle Ages, when its walls were covered with marble slabs and mosaics. The medieval phase was preserved until the decision of the archbishop to modernize the cathedral in 1721, despite the strong aversion of various intellectuals of the time.

Map: 23

The works ended up involving the destruction of the ancient phase and the almost complete reconstruction of the church in the form visible today, inspired by that of St. Ignatius in Rome:

The Cathedral of Ravenna and the Neonian Baptistery by Wasso H., on Flickr

Map: 27

The façade is partly concealed by a great arched portico:

Portico at the entrance of the Cathedral of Ravenna by Wasso H., on Flickr
 

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Map: 25

A few parts of the medieval structure survive, including the 10th century (although later remodeled) 35 meter high cylindrical bell tower:

Bell tower of the Cathedral of Ravenna by Wasso H., on Flickr

Map: 26

The bell tower features single-light and mullioned windows, similarly to that of Sant’Apollinare Basilica, but with additional narrow windows in the lower part:

Bell tower of the Cathedral of Ravenna by Wasso H., on Flickr

Other remains of the original church, like surviving fragments of mosaics, are preserved in the Archiepiscopal Museum next door.
 
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