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"Aut lux hic born east, picks hic aut free regnat"
Or the light is born here or captured, here reigns free
(Verse inscribed in St. Andrew or Archbishop's Chapel)
TAMO is not a museum in the usual sense of this word: it is not a passive display of materials and artworks, it is instead a place where visitors can become active users experiencing mosaic in an unconventional way. Here, everyone can choose the tour that better suits his preferences, curiosity and momentary emotions, selecting freely the sequence of sections. More than being just a museum, TAMO, is a place designed to experience a personal and unique trip in the universe of mosaic; more than just exhibition sites, TAMO and the Church of St. Nicholas, are designed as cultural and social containers. As a matter of fact, inside this place it is not unusual to attend to temporary exhibitions and workshops as well as yoga classes, dance performances and weddings.
The first thing that strikes you arriving at the entrance of the museum is the sequence of four large letters in weathering steel placed between the pilasters of the Romanesque facade of the church of St. Nicholas in which it is set up the permanent exhibition of TAMO. In addition to the church - whose current "version" was probably built in 1364 - the sixteenth-century cloisters that house the last section of the permanent exhibition dedicated to contemporary mosaic, are part of the complex as well.
The church of St. Nicholas consists of a single aisle 36 meters long and 18 wide with a rich sanctuary adorned with frescoes relating to the Stories of St. George, and two side chapels, one dedicated to St. Augustine and the other to St. Monica where you can admire frescoes by Cesare Pronti. Going up the ramp that leads to the Panorama section, you can see in a niche the remains of the Adoration of the Child, while in the left aisle, in a niche, you can admire the Crucifixion by Francesco Longhi dated to the end of Fifteenth Century.
The permanent exhibition of mosaics is divided into six sections located inside the church: PAVIMENTA, a section dedicated to ancient decorative floor mosaics; ECCLESIA, PALATIUM, where it is displayed the mosaic floor from the second sacellum of the basilica of San Severo; DOMUS, PALATIUM, that offers an historical and technological overview on the mosaic floors that come from prestigious buildings such as private domus and villas dating back to Roman Empire, and mosaics which were found in residential buildings.
The theme of the techniques and tools is the core of the fourth section, AURUM, which enhance the materials and colors of mosaic. This section owes its name to the splendid work of Paolo Raccagni "Excursus on the laying of gold tiles", that illustrates how light and its reflection is dealt in Byzantine techniques.
ETERNITY and HISTORY, the fifth section, makes powerful the idea of eternity creating a link between religious artworks and the resistance of the mosaic materials; PANORAMA section, located in an elevated area, allows you to enjoy an unusual view of the overall exposure and the church.
The last section contains MOSAICS BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL with representations of Dante's Divine Comedy. The name of Ravenna is inextricably tied to Dante Alighieri as it is contemplating our mosaics that Dante conceived the theology of light dominating all cantos of Paradise.
In the cloisters are arranged the works in mosaic on the themes of the Divine Comedy: a total of 21 mosaics made in 1965 by the mosaic school of Ravenna and "translated" from preparatory sketches of important Italian painters.
So in Ravenna, the city of mosaics par excellence, there is a place that simply explains with freedom of expression what mosaic is and has been, how it is done and what has to be done to preserve it over time. A journey through floors and walls made of mosais, materials and studies on the connection with light, cartoons, casts, photographic and digital reproductions: all that contributes to show every facet of the world of mosaic and its protagonists, as many small pieces that, together, create a unique world made of light and reflections.
How to get there
On foot: 15 minutes from the railway station
By bus: TAMO is a few meters far from Piazza Caduti per la Libertà where many bus lines stop
By car: pay and display parkings in Via De Gasperi or the parking lot in Largo Firenze
Open from Monday to Sunday (from march to novembre)
Open from Tuesady to Sunday (from november to march)
Clased on december 25
- Entire € 4,00
- Reduced € 3,00
Guided visits with previous booking