Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita… on Friday, September 4th at a rather early hour, FSU students convened in Piazza della Reppublica to take a bus to Ravenna, city of many beautiful basilicas, mosaics, and the burial city of the father of Italian literature, Dante Aligheri. Our first stop was the Basilica of San Vitale – a beautiful space with lots of Byzantine art. The fascinating part was not just casting our gazes upwards towards the altar and the high ceiling, but also to look down at the mosaics that covered the floor. We were fortunate to have art historian and professor Linda Reynolds to tell us more about the mosaics and Byzantine churches! Near the Basilica of San Vitale we were also able to see the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia that is also filled with mosaics and contains three sarcophagi.
Sue never fails to find excellent restaurants for lunch but Osteria Passatelli was especially delicious! We enjoyed an assortment of meats and cheeses and pasta with ragù sauce, washed down with a local, red wine and a caffè espresso. After lunch we visited two more basilicas with the same name – Sant’Appollinare – beginning with the older one in the city center and the newer one (Sant’Appollinare Nuovo) in Classe, out in the countryside of Ravenna. Both were stunning! My favorite part of the day was seeing Dante’s tomb, since I enjoy twelfth-century Italian literature. It is kind of sad that Dante was buried in Ravenna because he was exiled there for political reasons and would have much rather spent his afterlife in his beloved Florence. At the end of the day, we were tired but happy returning to the city that we now know pretty well and have quickly grown to love… a riveder le stelle.
– Samantha Gillen, Program AssistantTags: Dante, Fsu study abroad, Ravenna