I was fortunate to be in Ravenna during its Festival of Night, Notte D’orio. These festivals are a fantastic adventure, an intersection of the various arts; from music all around the city streets, its various museums open for free visits until midnight, street performers, dance parties, and the like.
Ravenna’s long history and involvement with both ancient as well as contemporary mosaics is a strong illustration of its character as a city of the arts, as it applies as a candidate for European Capital of Culture in 2019. But I don’t think this should just be seen in the context of high culture, of a rarefied historical works and museum exhibitions of contemporary arts, but as also a mark of a vibrant street art, and all of these things lead to an impression of a place where art has a meaningful engagement across all levels of society. In short, if you want to see art, this is a surprisingly good place to go, and not just for the golden mosaics.
While on the topic of street performers, this fellow was a hoot! The first show I saw him (the day before the Notte D’orio), he is in the main piazza, just getting going, and there are not many people around. Already though, he is covered in Kerosene (jet fuel!), and the pavement is, within seconds, showing the signs of his engagement with fire. A sparse crowd gathers, and there’s an expectation that we are here to watch a train wreck; the performance is frantic. But he successfully navigates his way through, a few more people gather during the show, but its just an odd show.
The next night, here he is; a star attraction for a large group gathered around, and the kids are enthralled. The balloons are almost held while he’s figuring out his next fire trick, the pavement (and his clothes) show still the evidence of his frantic displays, but somehow it all just sort of works, and particularly with the kids here, there is definitely a sense of different levels of the whole event and a million questions, a curious fascination, linger within the audience, while the kids just want their balloons (before they get caught up and explode in the next fire juggle perhaps!)
The Notte D’orio featured a large stage in the main piazza, with a crowd that ebbed and flowed throughout the night.
What follows is a collection of images that caught my eye wandering around for a couple of days.