The Church of San Vitale (6th century) - Ravenna Intorno

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The Church of San Vitale (6th century) - Ravenna

san vitale
Address:
Via Fiandrini Benedetto - Ravenna
Opening hours: Weekday opening hours:from 15/03 to 30/09 9.00 - 19.00 ticket office closes at 18.45 - Holiday opening hours: from 15/03 to 30/09 9.00 - 19.00 ticket office closes at 18.45 - Closed: 25/12 and 1/1
Phone: +39 0544 541688
 
 
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Initiated by Giuliano Argentario in 525 A.D. and commissioned by Bishop Eccles, San Vitale was consecrated by Archbishop Massimiano approximately 22 years later. Built a century after the adjacent Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Basilica stands on the site of an earlier oratory from the fifth century, of which traces can still be seen in the area that surrounds the building.

An important monument of Paleo-Christian art, the Basilica of San Vitale, with its mysticism expressed externally by its octagonal plan, is a perfect combination of the Byzantine and Roman architecture, a characteristic that makes it one of the most beautiful churches from the antique world.Constructed in brick, with an unadorned simplicity, the Basilica is a treasure chest that conceals the highest Byzantine mosaic. Once you enter, it is easy to get lost in the enveloping central space, in the intricate voluminous structures that convey the maximum amount of light and naturally lead to the central dome which has a diameter of 16 metres. The dome was built with a system of earthenware pipes and was frescoed in 1780 by Barozzi and Gandolfi, from the Bolognese school and the Venetian Guarana.
The mosaic plan of the Basilica holds works of Byzantine art between its walls that epitomise the era, such as the two processional scenes of the Emperor Giustiniano and his consort Teodora who offer, respectively, the bread and wine to celebrate the Eucharist. The apse offers a splendid image of Christ the Redeemer accompanied by the Ecclesiastical Bishop and the soldier and martyr Vitale; in the presbytery, there are two paintings that represent the Biblical sacrifices of Abel and Melchizedek and Abraham.

Despite the Basilica of San Vitale projecting the visitor's eye upward toward the dome, there is something beautiful and meaningful to contemplate on the floor. The Labyrinth of the souls has its origins right here in the presbytery. The serpentine path, formed by triangular arrows that lead to the altar of the Basilica, is a metaphorical depiction of sin and of the tortuous path that leads to rebirth.