Ravenna Shore Excursions
Galla Placidia Mausoleum
The unpretentious brick Galla Placidia Mausoleum was built in the middle of the 5th century as the final resting place for Gall Placida, daughter of Roman Emperor Theodosius I, and sister of the Roman emperor Honorius. The Mausoleum contains some of the earliest and finest mosaics in Ravenna beautifully illuminated by a soft light radiating through alabaster panels set in the walls.
Ravenna was captured by the Goth King Theodoric in 493. Theodoric was an Arian, following the teachings of the Egyptian priest Arius, who believed Jesus Christ a creation of God rather than an equal. Arian churches sprung up all over the city, among them the octagonal Arian Baptistery. When Theodoric died, Arianism was denounced by the Roman Catholics; they removed all the decoration from the Arian churches in the city. But in the Arian Baptistery, the fabulous ceiling mosaic was left undisturbed, remaining today as a testament to a lost religion.
Basilica San Vitale
The plain unadorned exterior of the Bailica San Vitale belies an interior bedecked with magnificent 6th century Byzantine mosaics. Of particular note are two exquisite portraits, one of Empress Theodora dripping in jewels, and the other her husband Emperor Justinian complete with a self-appointed halo.
Piazza del Popolo
After (or during) an extensive tour of Ravenna’s mosaic treasures, take a break by locating a welcoming café under the Little Venetian Palace at the Piazza Del Popolo. Enjoy some lazy sightseeing, by checking out the the statues of St. Vitalis and St. Apollinare from your chair.
Porto Corsini Coastal Dune Nature Reserve
A stone’s throw north of the cruise port lies the beautiful Porto Corsini Coastal Dune Nature Reserve (Riserva Naturale Duna Costiera Di Porto Corsini). One possible hike through the woods starts at the furthest parking lot behind the beach. The path heads inland, then makes a right turn leading you through the heart of the pine forest. After about a mile turn right again to rejoin the beach. Head back along the sands to the cruise terminal (stopping for a swim on a hot day!).
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