Monumental Mosaics: Ravenna Walking Tour
- Mausoleum of Galla Placidia: See the world's earliest and best-preserved mosaic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the shape of a cross.
- Basilica of San Vitale: Built in 1525, this small domed structure contains the world's finest Byzantine mosaic art, but no relation to its neighbor Placidia.
- Regional specialties: You'll take a break in Ravenna for the crusty flat bread known as piadina with prosciutto, salami, cheeses, and a glass of local wine.
- Free time: Some time to stroll the town center and experience Ravenna on your own.
About This Ravenna Tour
According to tradition, the powerful Roman empress Galla Placidia ordered the construction of the mausoleum that bears her name. A lover of fine art, she spared no expense in decking out her tomb. Inside the unassuming brick building are brilliant blue and green mosaics, dominating every inch of ceiling in the ancient structure.
It seems Galla Placidia's wish was to spend eternity under a starry night sky as there are over 800 stars etched into the mausoleum's ceiling. She was a devout Christian, too – the most famous mosaics in the mausoleum are fascinating relics of early Christian art, including one brilliantly portraying Christ in regal attire of gold and purple, in contrast to prior depictions of him as a simple shepherd.
Though the belief for centuries was that Galla Placidia's embalmed body was sitting upright in a sarcophagus next to her second husband and second-eldest son, a fire lit by a mischievous crew of boys in 1577 threw that belief into doubt. Instead, it's possible that imposter bodies were placed in the ancient tombs somewhere around the 13th or 14th century, with the intention of passing it off as Placidia and her clan. But that hasn't stopped thousands from flocking to this splendid tomb; regardless of whose remains may or may not reside there, the beauty of the mosaics is timeless. As any lover of art will tell you.
The art of inspiration
For a relatively small structure far from Rome, Placidia's mausoleum has benefited from some of the best unintentional travel marketing in history. Among those it inspired were the poet Ezra Pound and psychologist (and one-time friend of Freud) Carl Jung. Legendary composer Cole Porter wrote Night and Day after a visit, moved by the intense colors of the mosaics depicting the night sky.
Please proceed pier side and look for our GoBe Representative with the displayed logo sign.
In San Marino shops are opened throughout the day. While exploring, we suggest you visit the towers of San Marino (the Rocca and the Torre Cesta) and breath their magical and mysterious atmosphere. Changing of the guard ceremony (at half-past every hour in the summer months) is in Piazza della Liberti. Don't forget to buy some stamps. San Marino issues their own.
Plan to walk for about .5 mile over paved and cobblestone surface with many steps to climb and descend. If you have troubles walking, you may find it too challenging to keep up the pace required. This tour is not suitable for wheelchair users.
Cultural, Scenic, Full Day, Shopping, Transport Only
English, Spanish, Italian
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Special Medical Restriction
If you have visual or hearing disabilities or if you are diabetic, make sure you bring a companion with you to offer assistance.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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