Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna

Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna

Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna is one of the main attractions of the city. It is best known for its beautiful, colorful and vivid Byzantine mosaics from the 6th century AD. In the same courtyard, there is the Mausoleum Galla Placidia, another of the important attractions of the city.

The Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna is one of the most important surviving examples of the Eastern Roman Empire (or Byzantine) art in the world. Its importance was recognized by UNESCO which included it on the list of world heritage sites together with 7 other sites in Ravenna.

The construction of the Basilica San Vitale started in 526AD during the Ostrogoth rule over Ravenna and was finalized in 547AD, seven years after Ravenna was occupied by the Eastern Roman forces. If you would like to know more about the political situation regarding Ravenna and the argument Western vs. Eastern Roman Empire you may visit the page History of Ravenna.

The importance of this basilica is reflected in its breathtaking Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine) mosaics. This Basilica is the only surviving church from the period of Justinian I (482-565AD), the emperor of the Easter Roman Empire. Furthermore, some scholars claim it reflects the design of the Audience Chamber of the Imperial Palace in Constantinople (the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire), of which there are no surviving traces.

The main attractions of this basilica are the mosaics that survived from the 6th century period. Even though the dome of the basilica is a beautifully painted fresco with lively images that may even seem 3D, these frescoes were painted much later in the 18th century. Only on one side of the church the vivid and colorful Byzantine mosaics have survived, which represent the main attraction of the basilica and the world’s historical heritage. These colorful images represent different scenes from the Bible, as well as a metaphorical scene in which Christ offers a crown to Saint Vitale. Nevertheless, below these scenes on the left side of the chamber there is a fresco that represents Justinian I, while on the right side of the same chamber there is the image of Theodora, the Emperor and the Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire. The Emperor is depicted in the middle of the mosaic, surrounded by his soldiers on one side and clergy on the other, while Empress is surrounded by numerous court ladies.

Ticket Prices for Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna
This ticket type is the cumulative ticket for the following attractions of Ravenna: Basilica of San Vitale, mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Basilica of San Apollinare Nuovo, Neonian Baptistery and Archiepiscopal Museum.

Regular ticket price is 9.5 Euros (€) ($10.94).
Reduced ticket price is 8.5 Euros (€) ($9.79).
During the period from March 1st to 15th June, the additional 2€ charge applies for those that want to visit the Mausoleum Galla Placidia.
Reduced price is reserved for students.
Free entrance: children under the age of 10 and handicapped individuals.

Before you decide to visit this attractions, we advise you  to check the prices on the official webpage of Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna.

Working hours of the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna
Throughout the year, all of the mentioned sights, included in the cumulative ticket will be opened from 10:00 to 17:00h. Obviously, during the summer time the working hours will be a bit longer (from 09:00 to 19:00h) while during the winter period working hours will be shorter (from 10:00 to 17:00 or 09:30 to 17:00, depending on the sight)
In order to learn the exact working hours of individual sights (not the same for all attractions) we advise you to visit the official website of these attractions.

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