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A rich new history of Ravenna

Long overshadowed by Venice, Ravenna was the meeting point of Byzantium and the west

By Philip Wood   October 2020
Mosaic of Theodora in the Basilica of San Vitale Credit: Petar Milošević

Mosaic of Theodora in the Basilica of San Vitale Credit: Petar Milošević

Ravenna tends to be overshadowed by Venice—with its canals and gondoliers—in the popular imagination of Italy. The cathedral of San Marco and the Doge’s palace are the flagship examples of the meeting point of Byzantium and western Europe, where the loot seized in Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade is paraded.

But Ravenna shows us an earlier stage in the relationship between Byzantium and the west. It…

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