All That Glitters is Gold

After yesterdays full day of feasting, I woke up today ready to do a bit more exploring than fooding.  (But don’t worry, there will be food!)  Today was planned to be yet another rainy day, so I figured it might be a good reason to get out of the city and do a little day trip.  I had secretly been hoping that I might have the time to sneak away to Ravenna, and luckily this turned out to be the perfect opportunity.

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I planned to get an early-ish start, since Ravenna is about 1 1/2 hours train ride from Bologna.  But to be honest, it was a bit of a struggle to get moving, as I found myself in a serious food coma this morning.  But after a little tea in my room and a little business (ordering my TEP for Sicily), I headed out for a cappuccino and croissant (see, already some food) on my way to the train station.

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Although Ravenna is more of a hike than other day trips from Bologna, with the beautiful and changing countryside, the time passes super quick.  So…why Ravenna?  What is in Ravenna?  How did I decide on Ravenna?  Ravenna is an UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the most beautiful and glittery mosaics that can be found in 5 different churches and buildings throughout the town.  Some say that it has the most beautiful mosaics in the world, and so I was very excited for the opportunity to see them in person.

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Ravenna itself is such a cute little town; cobblestone streets lined with designer shops and restaurants, very clean and pretty, an enjoyable stroll on my way to see the mosaics.

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Since I was on a little bit of a time schedule, because there are limited trains on Sundays, I made my way directly to the ticket office to start my tour.  I worked in the order that was suggested on the ticket, essentially starting with the largest church, and weaving my way around the city back towards the train station.

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mosaic tiled floors

When you walk in, it is simply breathtaking.  Glittering, pristinely delicate and patterned mosaics adorning the entire church.

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They were absolutely beautiful, there is no other way to describe them.  Everyone basically takes the same stance in front of the mosaics: head tilted up, jaw dropped to the floor.  You just stand there and take it all in.  You could spend hours just standing and staring at the same piece of mosaic, noticing the different nuances and intricate patterns.

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As my time was quickly escaping me, I moved ahead, visiting the remaining sites with the same awestruck feeling at each stop.

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With almost no time left, I noticed a sandwich shop where I was able to quickly grab a piadina (local homemade bread stuffed with almost anything you want) and a glass of wine to go (I love you Italy!).

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As I left the shop, I bit into my still warm, homemade piadina, and tasted something so delicious and simple, that it could truly only be found in Italy.  Although Italians definitely have a knack for over the top, they equally have a knack for simplicity.  Mozzarella, arugula and prosciutto stuffed into a warm bread pocket.  The perfect way to end my adventure in Ravenna.

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And now here I am, back on the train, and once again watching the rain pour down.  I am feeling so lucky to have missed the showers today, and so blessed to be enjoying this Italian adventure.  Life is good.

 

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