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Mosaics Itinerary

Ravenna and its Lidos

The artistic and cultural excellence of Ravenna is inextricably linked to its ancient mosaics, which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage list and were preserved thanks to mosaic studios, restoration centres and research and training institutions. This created a unique synthesis of past and present, which does not exclude new and contemporary contributions to this technique.

TAMO MUSEUM

It is a permanent exhibition entirely dedicated to the mosaic art, and it is located inside the old church of Saint Niccolò in Ravenna.

The exhibition has several thematic itineraries: the light, the context where mosaics have been realized (the “domus”, the “palatium”, the “ecclesia”); the techniques and tool used by mosaicists and, lastly, the materials adopted to realize the mosaics.

The exhibition hosts also some original pieces of arts, from the 1st to the 13th Century. They testify the great artistic heritage of Ravenna and its surroundings.

It is possible to admire also some pieces of mosaic art from the archaeological sites of the Domus of Stone Carpets, of the former Saint Severo Basilica, and of the two Domus located in Faenza.

CARPETS OF STONE

This is one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the last few decades.

The “carpets” are located inside the church of Sant’Eufemia, built in the 18th century, in an underground location about 3 metres under thelevel of the streets. There are 14 rooms with mosaic and marble floorings, which belonged to a private byzantine residence, dating back to the 5 th and 6th century.

The mosaic floorings feature geometric, floral and figurative patterns; the most important pieces of the exhibition are the “Good shepherd” and the “Dance of the Geniuses of the Four Seasons”.

RASPONI CRYPT

Small chapel of the late 18th century, never actually adressed to the deceased Rasponi family.

The most interesting part of the crypt is a mosaic flooring, a set of different fragments put together. The floor comes from Classe, probably from the church of San Severo (6th century) and displays decorative patterns and animals – chickens, ducks, gooses, rams and snakes – depicted in a spontaneous, lively and colourful atmosphere.

CRYPT OF SAN FRANCESCO

The church was built in accordance to the bishop Neon a little after 450, and was dedicated to the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul. In 1261 it wasincorporated into the Franciscan Monastery ad, subsequently, was dedicated to St. Francis. In the crypt there are some mosaic floorings of the 5 th century. Since it is under the level of the sea, the crypt is flooded and some fish swim in it.

SO-NAMED PALAZZO OF THEODORIC

It consists of the remains of the narthex of the medieval church of San Salvatore, which was built on a wing of the palace of Theodoric.

This archaeological area gained a lot of interest starting from the mid-20th century, when some mosaic floorings were accidentally found. Since they were in awful condition, the were restored from 1897 to 1907 and later, from 1908 to 1914 there were annual works.

The mosaics displayed were found in both the palace and the earlier buildings: they are fragments of mosaic and marble flooring, from the 1st to the 7th century. An exceptional chance to follow the evolution of ancient mosaic flooring.

BASILICA OF ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST

Built in the 5th century by the empress Galla Placidia, it was subjected to many interventions over the centuries. Furthermore, in 1944, it was severely damaged by airplane bombings, which caused the loss of its frescos (12th-13th century) and its apsis’ mosaics.

Mosaic floorings, dating back to the 13th century, are now displayed along the church’s walls. They depict romance themes, fantastic animals and crusade characters.

Heterogeneous collections are on display at the museum, including floor mosaics of the 6th century from the Basilica of San Severo, in Classe, and from the disappeared church of San Michele in Africisco; a wall mosaic fragment with an Angel’s head, probably of the 6th century, and some medieval fragments of mosaic floors from the church of San Vitale.

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