Mosaics - Chiesa di San Domenico
Purely by chance we happened to arrive in Ravenna at the same time their first mosaic festival was on.
Purely by chance (not really, I stick my head into old churches all the time) I walked into this old building and lo, there was a mosaic exhibition. Better still, it was free.
Of course, these were not the ancient mosaics that Ravenna has become famous for. No, this was your modern version.
The edifice is located in Ravenna at the beginning of Via Cavour. Once called the Church of S. Maria in Callopes:
Built in 1269 and enlarged in 1374, it was equipped in the facade with arches where the burials were placed. One sees traces on either side of the entrance door of the pointed arches (three on each side), and also you notice traces of two windows on either side of the round. The Church Ravenna was almost entirely rebuilt in the early eighteenth century and designed by Giambattista Contini.
This church has lost its old name, and is now known as Dominic. Situated on the banks of the Padenna it deserves attention because it is considered that here there was the Old Capitol Ravenna.
Today it is mainly used for exhibitions and artistic performances and provides an interesting destination for the discerning tourist in Ravenna. There was a wonderful ambience inside the spacious area, draped with dark curtains around where the aisles would originally have been. The quality of the works surprised me, accustomed as I am to walking in to look at modern art and being disappointed.
Not only that, it was eclectic and I thoroughly enjoyed the mosaics on display and their different interpretations of what you can do with the medium.
I didn't take the picture of the old church until I left the building and it was fascinating to see the different layers of architecture. I could count at least four on this wonderful building that once was the church of San Domenico.
Palazzo Rasponi dalle teste
Amongst the numerous town residence of the Rasponi family and its various branches, you can cite three buildings that overlook the current piazza Kennedy.
The Rasponi family, present in Ravenna since at least the XIII century, in fact dominated the political and economic life of the town between the 16th and 19th century.
They formed one of twelve families which owned over 50% of the local landed estates, in a communal territory that extended for about 60,000 hectares, despite the fact that at least half of the same consisted of uncultivated land, swamps, forests, beaches; in other words, unproductive lands that could only be used as pastureland.
During the first decades of consolidation of Papal domination the Rasponi acquired power and dominance by force and cruel means.
Francesco Guicciardini, who was the president of Romagna between 1524- 1526, wrote that "the Ghibellini factions are headed by the Rasponi ... who in Ravenna are much respected and feared, to such an extent that a change or any accident could cause much damage"
The wealth and power of the Rasponi family is evident from the appearance of the palazzo that overlooks the square, and which is the most elegant of the town, embellished by an ornate Baroque portal. It was built in the early 18th century and was known as "dalle Teste" as a bandaged negro head and a lion decorate the windows, together with a series of intertwined lions paws, showing their claws, which were the "rasponi".
In front of the palazzo, in the area that is today occupied by the square, is a vast private garden that extended to the side of palazzo Rasponi Murat, which appears to be a gloomy fortress, accentuated by the deep barbicans of the cornice and its etched base. It was built in the XV century by the powerful Balbi family, but as the result of marriage it ended up in the hands of the Rasponi.
In 1825 Giulio Rasponi married Luisa Murat, the daughter of the queen of Naples, from which the name of the branch derived. The count having had the nuptial apartment decorated by neo-classical artists such as: Agricola, Pelagi, Minardi, G.B. Barbiani.
The taste is impeccable and the painting of Wicar and Nenci still remain. The palazzo still conserves halls with relics dating back to the Napoleonic era, and it was the meeting place of liberal and Jacobean conspirators.
During the last quarter of the 18th century it was owned by count Marco Fantuzzi, who extended it and also re-arranged the nearby garden (which is today known as the Garden of the Erbe Dimenticate (Forgotten herbs), the work being commissioned to architect Camillo Morigia and embellished with rare plants and fragrant herbs.
At the side of palazzo Rasponi dalle Teste, another Rasponi building overlooks via D'Azeglio, the current day appearance being the result of work planned by Morigia in 1789: the ornamental work of the cornice being reminiscent of that of modern- day public schools.
From 1865 to 1987 this palazzo was the seat of the Ravenna law court. In the rooms that hosted the law court there are still panels produced by Felice Giani and his workshop.
Palazzo located in Piazza Kennedy
Usualy when walking around italian cities you have to be careful not to be run over by a moped. In Ravenna, to my surprise, people seem to prefere bicycles. Very untypical if you ask me. Totally contrary to the picture in my head of Italians rushing around on their mopeds. Call it a stereotype. But that doesn't meen you are less endangered in Ravenna. Still watch your step as you never know when somebody on two wheels will rush around the corner.
Another seaside place with wild night life. 15-20 minutes by car, with many bars in a center, many rich funcky people, the most famous discoe there is Pinetta. Though, a pleasure walk with some lurking in bars is strongly adviced. You'll see at least a few ferrari and porches on the streets (nice view, guys!!!).
The little temple, built in 1780 by the architect Camillo Morigia, contains the sarcophagus with the bones of Dante. The exterior is in Neo-classical style, and inside, above the sarcophagus, there is a 1483 relief by Pietro Lombardo depicting Dante at a reading desk. In the middle of the temple there is an 18th century lamp kept burning with oil from Tuscan olive trees which is donated annually by the municipality of Florence on the second Sunday of September. On the right a gate leads into the garden of the so-named Quadrarco di Braccioforte, beneath which there are two sarcophagi.