You can visit Ravenna even in half a day: this will be enough to know its culture and history and will realize how this town is rich in architecture and art by the knowledge of the different religions that during the past strongly influenced all the mosaics decorations and its buildings.
Our tour will start from the Church of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo and after walking in Piazza Del Popolo the main square and Dante’s tomb area will end at the Basilica of San Vitale. (first half VI cent.). All the monuments involved in our tour are in the city centre – walking area where we can also also drink a good coffee!
Sant’Apollinare Nuovo (end V cent.) is in Via di Roma near the railway station.
This area is very quiet. The external of the church is very simple but inside you can find beautiful mosaics decorations of Justinianean age (Catholic) and the age of Theodoric (Arian faith) .
In fact this church has been defined the “church for two religions”: we will discover together why.
The king Theodoric in fact (454-526) of arian religion commissioned the building of this church at the end of V cent. Mosaics decorations got inspiration from the influence of the greek-roman taste and from Justinian mosaic taste . Consequently it is the most characteristic building concerning the ravennate byzantine art.
Mosaics decorations on the walls allow us to follow the evolution from the age of king Theodoric to Justinian one, an important melting port of different cultures and languages.
From Via di Roma we will go to the city centre to reach the “silent area” : here the famous Italian poet Dante Alighieri lived. This area is dedicated to its memory and cult . His tomb is a simple neo-classical building near St.Francis cloisters and church in which in 1321 Dante’s funerals took place.
Next monument of our tour will be the Battistero Neoniano (beg.V cent.) from bishop Neon who got the baptistery decorated with the mosaics of the dome.
It is situated near the actual cathedral and it is richly decorated with stuccos, inlays of polychrome marbles and mosaics: different techniques integrated themselves perfectly to give life to an extraordinary united and harmonic complex. After the visit to the Baptistery we will reach the basilica of San Vitale (VI cent.) the byzantine monument “par excellence” . The church has a central octagonal plan and its wonderful panels that represent the emperor Justinian with its suite and the empress Theodora, his wife, are famous all over the world.
Both the scenes as well as their artistic value have a documentary one really extraordinary. From them in fact we can deduce the splendour of the byzantine court.
Going out of the basilica we go towards the mausoleum of the roman empress Galla Placidia. It was built within the first half of the Vth cent. probably by Galla Placidia.
It is a little construction but on entering you will be impressed by the magnificence of the decorations and of the mosaic scenes, especially by the unreal atmosphere in which you find yourselves.The lunette of the Good Shepherd among his flock is one of the most beautiful mosaics of Early Christian Art.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE GUIDED TOUR
Meeting point : church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo
End point: mausoleum of Galla Placidia
Information on the guided tour:
Entrance fees to monuments: Euro 8,50 with tour-guide
Free admission for children up to 10 years.
From march 15 to June 15 entrance to monuments is Euros 10,50 with tour-guide and Mausoleum of Galla Placidia included – otherwise Euros 8,50
1 entrance free every 20 people