Basilica San Vitale, Ravenna

4.9
#1 of 11 in Historic Sites in Ravenna
Considered a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, Basilica San Vitale was built during the 6th century and is today inscribed on the World Heritage List. The church contains what are possibly the finest mosaics in Europe, the largest and best preserved examples of this art form outside of Constantinople. These mosaics were executed in the Hellenistic-Roman tradition, which focused on lively and imaginative depictions, with rich colors and a vivid portrayal of landscapes, plants, and birds. One of the site's two major mosaic panels depicts Emperor Justinian I flanked by his court officials, while the other shows his wife, Theodora, with a train of her court ladies. This site is of extreme importance in Byzantine art, as it is the only major church from its time period to have survived virtually intact to the present day. After your first visit, hold on to your ticket: it’s valid for seven days.  Put Basilica San Vitale and other Ravenna attractions into our Ravenna trip generator, and watch your holiday take shape.
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3,027 reviews
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4.8
TripAdvisor
  • August 18, 2017
    A really great work. Definitely not to be missed. It pays to take the ticket to see other sites owned by the diocese.
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  • August 18, 2017
    Definitely do not miss visiting this basilica as it gets in Ravenna. The mosaics are so lovely will leave you breathless. Convenient single ticket that allows visits to other sites.
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  • August 18, 2017
    We came to Ravenna to see the Byzantine mosaics and weren't disappointed. The mosaics in San Vitale are very detailed and in such good condition it's difficult to believe they were made around 1500 ye...  more »
Google
  • Although it is referred as basilica, it is not. Architecturally a basilica is rectangular. The church of San Vitale (built between 526 and 547 AD) is octagonal, an early Byzantine art and architecture having several Roman elements. The church is most famous for its wealth of Byzantine mosaics, the largest and best preserved outside of Constantinople. The church is of extreme importance in Byzantine art, as it is the only major church from the period of the Emperor Justinian I to survive virtually intact to the present day. The visit to this beautiful building is most recommended._
  • Ravenna has few small spots that must be seen. This is one of those...beautiful ceiling!! Entrance fee is included in a ticket for multiple attractions.
  • A "must visit" place. Stunning mosaic art is everywhere.
  • By far the most impressive mosaic works I've seen in Italy (and I've traveled through dozens of sites in Italia). With the 5-museum pass, visit them in reverse order, from smallest to largest, saving the most grand for last.
  • Important Byzantine church from the 6th century AD. Very interesting architecture and beautiful mosaics.

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Where to stay in Ravenna

Famous for its ancient mosaics, Ravenna is packed with boutique hotels and luxury resorts. Stay near the center of the city for easy foot access to numerous museums, galleries, and World Heritage archeological sites. A less expensive alternative to brand-name hotels, small B&Bs located just minutes from the tourist-driven central districts offer access to secure parking and private yards. Alternatively, you can explore a host of self-catering apartments and private cottages in the picturesque countryside surrounding the city.
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