A Token of Ravenna

{They don’t build ’em like they used to!}

Ravenna_They don't build them like they used to

It’s a (rare) ugly, overcast day here in Southern California.  And I know I didn’t write last week!  Naughty, naughty!  But there’s actually a story behind it.  A JEWELRY story.  The Sunday before last, my 21-month-old daughter swallowed one of my wedding bands!  Long story short, she was fine, but I wasn’t allowed to bring her to daycare because having a foreign object lodged inside her was apparently a liability for the daycare center.  Thus, she was home with me (or I was home with her?) until, 2 x-rays and many frantic calls to the pediatrician later, it FINALLY came out on Saturday.  <Insert “daughter laid a golden egg” or “you struck gold!” joke here.>  Anyway, I had only short nap times every day to accomplish everything I had to do, and let’s just say, somehow I didn’t manage to sit down and write a thoughtful, inspiring piece on my blog.

So that’s life.  But I’m excited to share this post with you because it brings back so many good memories!  In summer 2013, my husband and I went to Ravenna, Italy, (thus my opening photo, above) to visit a good friend of ours from Hamburg (where we were living at the time) and his family.  (Click here to see the earrings I wore on the trip!)  Ravenna is in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, about an hour’s drive from Bologne (the nearest airport and another town I enjoyed visiting) situated a few miles inland from the Adriatic Sea, about 75 miles south of Venice.

{Come through the ancient stone passageway with me and I’ll tell you about it…}

Ravenna_stone passageway

Ravenna doesn’t get a lot of p.r. – being overshadowed by better-known Italian destinations such as Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, [fill in the blank amazing city], so we thought we’d have a relaxing long weekend spent mostly at a nearby beach.  Not so!  Ravenna is home to not one, not two, but EIGHT UNESCO World Heritage sites, all built between the 5th & 6th centuries!  And our friend was quite the tour guide.  A friend of his worked at the local tourism bureau and got us passes to all of the sites.  And we toured ALL OF THE SITES.  I’ve seen a lot o’ cool stuff in my travels across five continents, but even jaded-old-me couldn’t help but be impressed.  Ah, I can feel the memories washing over me.  It’s a lovely feeling when that happens, isn’t it?

{“Hey look everyone, another ancient tower!”}

Ravenna_ancient tower_bike ride

{In the city center, a handsome man passes by}

Ravenna_handsome man on bike

At one of our last stops on our tour was a museum that had a great gift shop (read: one selling more than just 1980s postcards).  The shop was at the light-filled entrance/exit area and featured modern plexiglass cases full of yes, postcards, but also locally-made items such as JEWELRY!  As I’m sure you know by now, I love, love, love color.  So when I saw a pair of ornamented felt earrings in various shades of pink and purple (my favorite!), I snatched them up.  Bonus: felt makes them lightweight thus preventing the small tears in my earlobes from enlarging.

{Maybe a pair of earrings in this design?}

A mosaic on the ceiling of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna.

Ravenna_Stone mosaic tiles

I chose this lovely pair to accompany me on a family trip to Santa Barbara the other weekend.  Unfortunately, it was a cloudy, drizzly day.  I swear this is very unusual for SoCal.  So we kept it pretty simple, basically checking out the main street in town, State Street.  State is full of national chains, sad, but we did manage to find a few local places, including the charming Lilac Patisserie.  Stark white, Scandinavian interior with lovely high ceilings and lots of good pastries (the lemon bars are excellent) and a few larger plates for a light meal.

{Wearing my artisanal earrings from Ravenna in Santa Barbara}

Ravenna earrings in Santa Barbara


{And ta-da, my Ravenna-crafted earrings, up close}

Ravenna earrings

Speaking of food, were introduced to piadina while we were in Ravenna, and now it’s on the menu at Panera??  I wonder if they’ll be filling it with squacquerone next!

This post was a bit of a jewelry appreciation piece + travelogue, which I’m going to do more of.  I can’t resist combining my two favorite things!  After all, Jewelry + Travel = TRUE LOVE.

{With another true love, outside the Basilica of San Vitale}

Ravenna_outside ancient ruins

Wishing you a lovely weekend, full of sunshine and successful jewelry hunting!

katherine xo

PS. Ravenna is a fabulous destination – a stunning city with wonderful food and architecture, but off the main tourist route.  For more information, check out articles from the New York Times, Rick Steves and Lonely Planet.


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  1. Binky on April 18, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    I’m glad your baby is safe. It was really funny how you put it!

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