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Ravenna and a Rat!

We early risers started our day at Duca di Amalfi, my favorite café around the corner. Since we had established early that the hotel's coffee sucked, this became our new early morning hangout. By the second day they knew I was good for two or three double lattes. I wouldn't be moving from our table for a couple of hours, but I would continue to buy coffee and my husband would eventually join me, and he was also good for a pastry and a coffee or two. It was a great place to journal, or read, or watch the locals. It was drizzly and chilly, so we sat inside with our wonderful choices. Brad enjoyed a gooey chocolate fix.

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At 9:30, we met Fiona and Steve with driving directions out of the centro, and our umbrellas, and we were on our way to Ravenna. We saw the fabulous mosaics on our 2006 visit, but were happy to return with our friends.

We arrived in Ravenna at 11:00 and shopped along the main street. The rain held off. I bought an amber necklace and a Furla necklace.

One of my favorite shops in Ravenna is a glass and mosiac store in the same block as the chursch of San Vitale. I used to do stained glass as a hobby, and their selection of colors is amazing. The jars of mosiac pieces are beautiful. I always have a fantasy of bringing back a whole piece of luggage filled with them!

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Then we all visited the amazing Basilica San Vitale, one of the most beautiful Byzantine churches in Europe. It is octagonal, and completely filled with mosaics.

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Mosaics depict stories from the Old Testament, and every surface is covered with mosaics of flowers, stars, birds and animals. It is said, that the dome of San Vitale, begun in 527, and completed in 548, was the inspiration for Brunelleschi in the design of the Duomo of Florence.

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After our visit to the the church, and a walk around town, we drove to Ristorante Il Gallo, a lovely setting where we had a great meal. I ordered gorgonzola stuffed zucchini flowers in a light tomato sauce, and a plate of Calabrian hot sausage and vino bianco.

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Brad had a salad and a wonderful papardelle with peas, prosciutto and finerli mushrooms.

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Fiona had a lovely zucchini risotto with shrimp.

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When we returned from Ravenna, Brad had a nap, and I did some shopping, as the rain had stopped. I found a pair of black and bronze flats. I visited Basilica San Paolo, and found a restaurant to try for dinner. Later, we had a glass of vine at Macambo Bar, then ate a wonderful meal at Caesari.

Cesari was a lovely surprise right around the corner, across the street from Luisa Spagnoli. Paneled with wood, with the walls lined with wine bottle, it had a San Francisco feel inside.

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I had a simple tortelloni with ricotta and parmigiano, and vitello with cheese and prosciutto.

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Brad had tortelli di zucca and agnello griglia.

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It was a great meal, with good service, and a wonderful menu. We met a couple from Hungary who came to Bologna to buy furniture. They had eaten there four out of their five nights!

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We returned to the bar in the Galleria for a late night coffee and grappa.

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or was that grappa and coffee?

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As we were walking back admiring the carvings, I happened to look up at the statues, and saw a huge rat! It is the first time I’ve seen in Italy, and it freaked me out, but I was relatively calm (as I ran screaming into the quiet piazza at midnight). Yes, I will still return to Bologna, and actually walked by the same place the next day. OK, I went around the Neptune fountain instead of through the arches, and I did NOT look up!

Comments (4)

nancyhol:

What - no rat picture? Just kidding - I know how you hate those damn things!

sheri:

Just reading about the rat makes my skin crawl. Wouldn't deter me from visiting though!

Was it alive? If yes, was it looking at you? My only rat sightings have been a dead rat in the street in Venice early one morning and a few rats in Hong Kong. Both were pretty unsettling.

sandrac:

Palma, where is that mosaic shop in Ravenna? I'll have to get the name and address from you. I've decided I'll be heading to Bologna (and Ravenna) in June 2009 and I'd like to check it out. (And I'll beware the rats!)

Wonderful photos!

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