Byzantine Italy - Ravenna and the Head of the Adriatic
£2,035 excl. flight
- Venice’s treasury collection and San Marco church
- Giotto’s chapel at Padua
- UNESCO listed St Euphrasius in Porec
The glorious Byzantium civilisation flourished for a thousand years leaving behind a rich legacy of art and architecture. This tour celebrates that era, exploring beautiful Ravenna, once capital of the Western Roman Empire, magnificent Venice with its renaissance glories and the lesser known sites of Aquileia, Grado and Porec, which each boast their own impressive monuments to the period.
Day 1 London/ Bologna, Ravenna – Fly to Bologna and transfer to Ravenna.
Day 2 Ravenna, Classe – Discover Ravenna, visiting Sant’Apollinare Nuovo and the Cathedral complex with its Orthodox Baptistery and the Archiepiscopal Museum with its marvellous 6th-century ivory chair. Spend the afternoon at the ancient port of Classe and the 6th-century basilica church of Sant’Apollinare.
Day 3 Ravenna - Visit the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, a jewel of mosaic art, and the Church of San Vitale with its triumphal mosaics of Justinian and Theodora. Afternoon visit to the archaeological museum.
Day 4 Pomposa, Padua, Venice - Drive to the isolated 8th-century Benedictine Abbey of Pomposa complete with bell tower, fine sculpture and later medieval frescoes. On to picturesque Padua for Giotto’s wonderful frescoes, 13th-century University and Basilica with relics of St Anthony. Continue to Venice.
Day 5 Venice – Visit fabulous San Marco, arguably the most splendid Byzantine church still in use today, including the fine treasury collection. Afternoon at the Orthodox Church of San Giorgio dei Greci and Icona museum.
Day 6 Venice, Trieste – Travel to the early settlement at Torcello for some striking mosaics and the glorious Byzantine screen in the Cathedral. On to Murano, famous for its glass making, to visit the 7th-century Church of Santa Maria e Donato. Continue on to scenic Trieste.
Day 7 Trieste – A day to discover the charms of Trieste and its Byzantine heritage. The Capella di Santa Maria Assunta has Venetian Ravennan mosaics of the Coronation of the Virgin laid by master craftsmen from Veneto in the 7th to 8th-century, while the Capella di San Giusto has 13th-century frescoes. Also visit the beautiful Castle of Miramar built in the 1850s by Archduke Maximilian.
Day 8 Head of the Adriatic – Explore early sites, later eclipsed by Venice. At Aquileia there are fine floor mosaics combining Nilotic scenes with Christian themes of Jonah and the Good Shepherd. On the island city of Grado two 6th-century churches, the Cathedral and Santa Maria delle Grazie, offer their own worthy sculptures and mosaics.
Day 9 Porec – Cross the Slovene and Croatian borders to visit beautiful Porec in Istria for one of the most magnificent early Byzantine churches in Europe, the UNESCO-listed Euphrasius’ Basilica, with its grandiose 6th-century basilica.
Day 10 Venice/ London - Return to Venice for flight back to London.
Rowena Loverance worked for over 20 years at the British Museum where she was Head of e-learning and has excavated in Greece and Cyprus.
She is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College, London and a trustee of Culture 24, the UK’s principal online cultural publisher. She edited the Bulletin of Byzantine Studies and is author of Byzantium and of Christian Art, a global account of contemporary cultural themes.
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23 – 28 December 2013