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Santi Auguri!
You'll want to read every word — but you'll have to know Italian, or have access to an Italian dictionary or Web translator. But you'll buy this book so just so you could enjoy looking at all those beautiful nativities…
Santi Auguri!
Vittorio Pranzini
The pages of Santi Auguri! spring to life at the country Ravenna home of Co-Author Vittorio Pranzini. This soft-spoken, religious man—who has just retired as the Superintendent of Ravenna’s schools—shares his love of presepi di carta, a love he developed as a child, helping his father install his family’s Christmas crib...
Elisabetta Gulli Grigioni
Co-Author of Santi Auguri! philosopher, teacher, collector
(42339 views)

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Adorned in Byzantine splendor, Empress Theodora and her retinue is pictured in imperial splendor in a mosaic masterpiece from the Church of San Vitale, Ravenna. She holds a chalice studded with gems, an offering for the consecration of San Vitale. You find yourself spellbound in her august presence—and that of her husband, Emperor Justinian (see photo, bottom of page).


The unadorned, massive walls and flying butresses of San Vitale give no hint of the Byzantine mosaic treasures to be found inside—the home of Justinian and Theodora.
In writing about Elisabetta Gulli Grigioni in Ravenna, I have to also pay homage to Theodora.

She rose from the stage—an actress was considered a common courtesan—to the throne, and alongside her husband Justinian, she ruled an empire.

Ever since I can remember, Theodora has been starring at me from books. Here I was, at long last, admiring her.

Ravenna, home to Elisabetta and Vittorio and their exquisite collections, is also home to treasures of the Byzantine Empire. Just two of them are the famous mosaics of Theodora and Justinian in the Church of San Vitale.

Even though Theodora and Justinian, Emperors of Byzantium, never set foot in the Ravenna, they, and their respective courts, adorn the apse of San Vitale. These two imperial processions, Justinian's on the left, Theodora's on the right, are considered among the highest expressions of mosaic iconography.

Ravenna, once the capital of the Byzantine Empire in the West, was adorned with magnificent civil and religious buildings. Its churches that date from that era are showcases of the splendor of the Byzantine Empire.

The unadorned, massive walls and flying butresses of San Vitale give no hint of the Byzantine mosaic treasures to be found inside—the home of Justinian and Theodora.


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