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Little Tiles of Ravenna

What a lovely little Italian town is Ravenna. My Italian friends say “oh, che belli mosaici!!” (pronounced moh-ZAI-ih-chee). And yes, the mosaics here are unbelievably beautiful. 

The little tiles of Ravenna are abundant and extant. Colorful and glimmering – golden little chips festooning the ceilings, the walls. Beautiful, indeed. Ravenna has it – and it knows it. You can buy a pass for five noteworthy locations – each slightly different in meaning to the church, its rulers, the people. All with stunning mosaics.
I didn’t take a lot of pictures because a) I only have an iPhone, b) I don’t want to see sights through a viewfinder. But c) most importantly: if I want a quality image of what I’m looking at – it’s called a “postcard”. You buy them in the bookstore. The professional photographer used proper lighting. They’re only a euro. 
However – I am fairly certain there are no postcards of the highlight of MY tour of Ravenna. The illuminated and animated nativity inside the Basilica di San Francisco.  For just one euro – I purchased such damn good entertainment. Believe me when I tell you this picture just doesn’t do justice to the excitement of that nativity. It lasted for minutes – The sky gently lightens then darkens then gets all starry until it just gets ONE STARRY — if you know what I mean. 

A Way in the Manger Inside S. Francesco

You gotta look closely. Mary tilts her face. Then at a snail’s pace slightly lifts up while pulling down the blanket to show the Baby Jesus. A shepherd in the background smiles to the heavens. One of the Magi lifts his gift (not sure if it was Balthasar, Caspar or Melchior) which I am here to tell you was better than a scene from “Avatar!”
And just as I was about to walk away (though it was still illuminated, I was trying to dodge a beggar inside the Apse) — what catches my attention but a nearly indiscernible movement from the cow in the Manger!  Right below his cud, was an infinitesimal movement of moss. That damn mucca was chewing. Yep! Of course, I was unable to capture this drama on my phone. You are gong to have to trust me. 
Can’t make this shit up. 
 Oh one more thing. A Vespa with a yellow suitcase-looking box. Pizza Delivery ala Ravenna!  
 Next on my Viaggio in Italia:  Bologna. And that ain’t no baloney. 

About Janet

The author of Ruling Woman is a television journalist, based in Manhattan who spends her workdays at 30 Rock, her nights on Broadway, and her weekends at the Farmers Market. Likes to knit, commune with the angels, and travel.

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