Sala VI. is entirely devoted to an immense number of pictures in the Byzantine manner, of considerable interest and much beauty, but not yet to be discussed.
We leave the Accademia for the Museo close by. The building in which the collections are housed is the old Camaldulensian monastery of Classe built in 1515 by the monks of S. Apollinare in Classe, and since S. Romuald, the founder of the order, was a Ravennese one may think the monastery might have been left in the hands of the monks. Even as it is it has considerably more interest for us than the collections gathered within it. The beautiful seventeenth-century cloisters, the old convent church of S. Romualdo in the baroque style of 1630, and the convent itself are delightful. The collections are mediocre. But here we may see all that is to be seen of the Ravenna of Augustus and of the great years of the empire, fragments and inscriptions and reliefs now and then of real interest, as in the relief representing the Apotheosis of Augustus, in the eastern walk of the cloisters, and in the remains of that suit of gold armour thought to be Theodoric’s in the old sacristy. But for the most part the collection is without much attraction, yet certainly not to remain unvisited.
[Illustration: THE PINETA]
Ravenna has so much that is rare and precious to show us that few among the many who spend a day or two within her walls have the inclination to explore the melancholy marshes in which she stands. No doubt most of us drive out to S. Apollinare in Classe, but the road thither does not encourage a further journey, for it is rude and rough and the country over which it passes is among the most featureless in Italy. Nevertheless he does himself a wrong who leaves Ravenna for good without having spent one day at any rate in the Pineta which, ruined though it now be, is still one of the loveliest and most mysterious places in the Romagna.
But lovely though it is, and full of memories, what can be said of this vast ruined forest of stone pines with its mystery of mere and fen, its coolness and shadow, its astonishing silence? Only this I think, that if once you find it, nothing else in Ravenna will seem half so precious as this green wood. You will love it always and for its own sake more than anything else in Ravenna, and in this you will not be alone; every one who has come to it these thousand years has felt the same, Dante, Boccaccio, Byron, Carducci, the Pineta knows the footsteps of them all and they seem to haunt it still.