Facts and Data
Unesco World heritage since: 1996
Size of heritage: 1.32 ha
Ravenna was the seat of the Roman Empire in the 5th century and then of Byzantine Italy until the 8th century. It has a unique collection of early Christian mosaics and monuments. All eight buildings – the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Baptistery, the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, the Arian Baptistery, the Archiepiscopal Chapel, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Church of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe – were constructed in the 5th and 6th centuries. They show great artistic skill, including a wonderful blend of Graeco-Roman tradition, Christian iconography and oriental and Western styles.
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Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna
The Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna, located in the City and Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna Region of Italy, are a collection of eight religious buildings that bear witness to the early Christian history and artistry of the region. Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996, these monuments are renowned for their exceptional mosaics and architectural significance.
Ravenna, once the capital of the Western Roman Empire, became an important center for early Christianity in the 5th and 6th centuries. The city served as the seat of the Byzantine Exarchate and played a crucial role in the spread of Christianity throughout Europe. The construction of these monuments began during the late Roman period and continued during the Byzantine era.
One of the most significant buildings in the collection is the Basilica of San Vitale, built in the 6th century. Its interior is adorned with stunning mosaics depicting biblical scenes and portraits of Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora. The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, another remarkable structure, houses some of the finest examples of early Christian mosaics, including the famous Good Shepherd mosaic.
The Arian Baptistery, built by the Ostrogothic King Theodoric in the 5th century, is another notable monument. Its mosaics depict scenes from the life of Christ and are a testament to the Arian Christian sect that once thrived in Ravenna. Other monuments, such as the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo and the Archiepiscopal Chapel, also feature intricate mosaics that showcase the artistic and religious significance of the period.
The Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna have been remarkably preserved over the centuries, allowing visitors to experience the grandeur and beauty of early Christian art. The mosaics, in particular, have retained their vibrant colors and intricate details, providing a glimpse into the artistic achievements of the time.
Today, these monuments continue to serve as active places of worship, attracting both locals and tourists alike. The Basilica of San Vitale, for instance, holds regular religious services and is open to visitors throughout the year. The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, now a museum, allows visitors to explore its stunning mosaics and learn about the history of the site.
Efforts have been made to ensure the preservation and conservation of these monuments. The Italian government, in collaboration with UNESCO, has implemented measures to safeguard the structures and their mosaics from deterioration caused by environmental factors and human activity. Regular maintenance and restoration work are carried out to maintain the integrity of the buildings and ensure their longevity.
The Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna stand as a testament to the rich cultural and religious heritage of the region. Their exceptional mosaics and architectural significance continue to captivate visitors, offering a glimpse into the early Christian history of Ravenna and its enduring artistic legacy.
Hotels and places to stay
La Reunion Hotel Residence
Hotel Centrale Byron
Hotel Diana & Suites
Ai Giardini di San Vitale
B&B Numero 25
A Casa di Paola Suite- Bed and Breakfast
Videos from the area
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Medium airport - 4 mi (7 km) Forlì Airport
Medium airport - 17 mi (28 km) Rimini / Miramare - Federico Fellini International Airport
Medium airport - 34 mi (56 km) Bologna / Borgo Panigale Airport
Large airport - 45 mi (74 km) Firenze / Peretola Airport
Medium airport - 65 mi (105 km) Arezzo Airport
Small airport - 69 mi (111 km) Padova Airport
Medium airport - 70 mi (112 km) Venezia / Tessera - Marco Polo Airport
Large airport - 75 mi (122 km) Treviso / Sant'Angelo Airport
Large airport - 85 mi (137 km)
Bigger and popular cities in the wider vicinity are these:
- Bagnara di Romagna
- Castrocaro Terme
- Castrocaro Terme e Terra del Sole
- Massa Lombarda
- San Mauro Pascoli
- Sant'Agata sul Santerno
These are some smaller cities that might be interesting. They are all rather close.
- Area Industriale
- Borgo Faina
- Borgo Fusara
- Borgo dell Anime
- Ca Rossa
- CaDi Guardia
- Casa Ottani
- Casa San Vitale
- Colonia Marina
- Fornace Zarattini
- Fosso Ghiaia
- Frazione Prima
- La Boaria
- Lo Stabbiale
- Madonna Dell'Albero
- Porto Fuori
- Punta Marina
- Romea Vecchia
- San Bartolo
- San Marco
- San Michele
- San Romualdo
- Villa Corradini