The people of Ravenna are justly proud of their great mosaic-filled basilicas. They were built fifteen centuries ago and still amaze us with their beauty and architectural perfection. When we visited with Angelico Surchamp last week, at the mention of Ravenna his eyes lit up and he said rapturously, “Ah, San Vitale”.
A sign of this local pride is that the churches are filled with school children of all ages on field trips. The younger ages all wear baseball caps of a certain color to identify them as a group. The older groups are less formal. As can be expected, the groups enter the church quietly, but the noise steadily mounts to almost deafening levels until a stentorian male voice speaks, greatly amplified electronically. Silenzio, per favore!
The noise level drops for awhile and then rises steadily again, only to be reminded again, Silenzio, per favore!
The crowds of the children and their bustle are two of our fondest memories of the Basilica di San Vitale and the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo. Even if they make it harder for us to shoot.