We left our hotel in Ravenna today to the sounds of trumpets. Not for us of course, but as part of the huge navy parade that was ending the week long Italian sailors convention. This meant, unfortunately, that many of the roads we needed to cross were busy or blocked off for the festivities. And the roads are so narrow that even in the roads where the audience is standing, there is no room to walk behind the. At one point we were actually walking with the parade (on the outskirts of course, as close to the spectators as possible) and we got some pretty nasty glares. Oh well.
Ravenna is really only known for 2 things: the location of Dante Alighieri’s tomb and amazing Roman-style mosaics. Naturally we saw both. Dante’s tomb is very interesting because of its history. Naturally the people in Florence would like to have it, because that was Dante’s stomping grounds, and at one point a few hundred years ago they were supposed to take the tomb to Florence, but some Ravennian monks hid the remains and they were only rediscovered by luck in the 1800s!
Of course the mosaics were beautiful. Most of them are centuries old, some coming from as far back as the fifth century! It was very interesting to see Christian motifs and symbols in this ancient Roman and Byzantine-esque style.
In the afternoon we collected our bags and set off for… (drum roll please…) VENICE!!! This is the first city that will really be a repeat for me. Sure I was in Bologna last time, but only for a few hours so it didn’t really count. But I’m not even a little bit mad aboutrepeating Venice. I loved it the first time and I’m sure I’ll love it again. It’s a magical place.
The train ride from Ravenna to Bologna was horrible again. Way too hot, and way over crowded. So that was a miserable hour and a half. The train from Bologna to Venice was nice though, especially considering the train was actually air conditioned. The moment we stepped off the train I remembered why I loved it here so much. The train station is right on the Canal, and there is something incredibly enchanting about the slow rolling if water beneath the bright Venetian houses that you don’t see anywhere else, even in other cities with rivers or canals running through them. Venice is completely its own.
We took a water bus from the train station to St. Mark’s square, where our AirBNB host was waiting for us. He lead us in through the narrow, maze-like streets into the heart of Venice. Along the way we passed a restaurant where I specifically remember my family eating sea food when we visited 2 years ago. AND we saw one of the guys who was in the hostel in Giimmelwald with us! Crazy small world, right?
Our lodging is a charming bed and breakfast run by a local, and it’s awesome. He gave us some great places to eat and tips about the town, and then we spent the evening walking the winding canals, looking for dinner. We had a wonderful three course meal, and of course I got some sea food because, hey, we are quite literally on top of the sea. Oh, and then we saw those guys from the hostel in the Alps again! Whaaaat??? Can’t wait to explore this beautiful place more tomorrow.