Ravenna Italy, the last port on our 11 day cruise. Rick Steve’s’ guidebook suggests that Ravenna can be visited in a three to four hour visit. We decided that we would visit 2 of the 3 recommended sites; the Basilica di San Vitale & Santa Maria Maggiore.
We had a little hiccup with the cruise line this morning. When the city is further then walking distance away, they sell tickets to a shuttle bus. That’s right, charge; it’s never free, nothing is ever free on MSC. So we had tickets for the first bus that cost us 30€ for the 3 of us. We missed the first bus which is ok but when we got outside there was a long line and no shuttle waiting. The next bus arrived and they all the people in line with strollers on board and so we didn’t get on the bus. Apparently they had 12 buses on the route but again, in typically Italian management processes, it took them a while to get organised and it took 20 minutes for another bus to arrive. When the bus arrived a young Italian woman ran past us and jumped on board first. She then proceeded to save the first row for her friends. She argued with us that she could save the seats. We argued a little but in the end decided that we didn’t want a confrontation. Her friends spent the entire 20 minutes bus ride being rude and speaking in Italian and laughing at us and others. We decided to put it behind us and enjoy Ravenna.
The city itself is nothing special, however, there were a few interesting sites. There was a cute Christmas market in Piazza del Popolo, which was built in the 1500s by the venetians. We made a few purchases. We stopped for a cappuccino at a small café before going into Basilica San Vitale. Though the morning started off cool and overcast by lunchtime the sun starting making its appearance and the temperature rose from 7 to about 13°.
Basilica di San Vitale was built in 540 AD by the Romans at the end of their reign. It was meant to show their power and act as a sanctuary while the madness surrounding the barbarians took hold of Europe. The entire inside of the church is covered in lavish tile mosaics and marble patterned floors. It was really quite impressive. The ceilings really had me impressed. The sun coming in through the windows had the mosaics shining and full of colour. Particularly interesting is the portrayal of Christ according to byzantine tradition without a beard and in red velvet robes like a king.
|Fresco on the ceiling of Basilica di San Vitale|
We also made our way to the mausoleum Galla Placidia which contains the oldest mosaics in Ravenna and apparently the bones of Placidia who was the daughter, sister, wife and mother of Roman emperors and died in 450AD.
After the visits we had decided we had to try the local pizza so we stop at the same little café on Via Argentario and had a pizza and some half pints of local beer before making our way back to the shuttle.
Back on the ship, I went for a nice relaxing manicure.
Tonight is our last night on the ship. We have the second seating for dinner which means we eat at 8:15. After dinner we have to pack our bags and leave them outside the door before 2am, we have to vacate the room tomorrow before 7:30 am and then we’re supposed to be off the ship by 9am.
On another post I’ll have to write about my experience with the staff and the other cultures on board. I know many Germans and am friends with several Germans but the ones on this cruise are really something else. Can’t saw that I’ve ever been body checked by an older German woman before this cruise!