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Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna

Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna: Our most recommended tours and activities

Ravenna: UNESCO Monuments and Mosaics Guided Tour

1. Ravenna: UNESCO Monuments and Mosaics Guided Tour

Marvel at the world-famous mosaics of Ravenna on a guided tour and learn all about their rich history. Enjoy tickets to 4 outstanding local landmarks and explore them in the company of an expert. Experience the best of the city in just one day with this insightful adventure. Starting from the convenient meeting point in Piazza San Francesco, journey through the streets of the city center with your guide to experience four incredible UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Basilica of San Vitale, the Neonian Baptistery. You will have the opportunity to visit: The Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo: originally used as a Palatine Church of Arianism, today it allows us to reconstruct the evolution of Byzantine wall mosaics from the age of Theodoric to that of Justinian. The Basilica of San Vitale: one of the most important monuments of early Christian art in Italy. When you enter the basilica, your gaze is captured by the high spaces, the wonderful mosaic decorations of the apse and the extraordinary representation of the imperial couple of Byzantium: Justinian and Theodora, with their procession. The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia: it was built around the middle of the 5th century, at the behest of Galla Placidia, who ruled the Western Roman Empire. The innumerable stars of the dome have struck the imagination and sensitivity of visitors over the centuries, and of outstanding personalities such as the great poet Dante Alighieri, who drew inspiration from them for the writing of some verses of the Divine Comedy. The Neonian Baptistery: one of the oldest monuments of the city, made of simple brick on the outside but rich in marble, stucco, and mosaics of clear Hellenistic-Roman influence inside. At the end of the tour the guide will accompany you to the entrance of the Archbishop’s Museum, so that you can visit it independently, each according to their interests and timing. Inside, in addition to many archaeological finds and works of art, is kept the last of the 5 UNESCO monuments included in the ticket, the Chapel of Saint Andrew, which with its depiction of the glorification of Christ is the only example of early Christian archiepiscopal chapel still intact to this day.

Ravenna: UNESCO Mosaics Entry Tickets

2. Ravenna: UNESCO Mosaics Entry Tickets

See more of Ravenna with a combo ticket for San Vitale and Sant Apollinare Nuovo, with an included visit to St. Andrew's Chapel inside the Archiepiscopal Museum. Check out the San Vitale, an octagonal 6th-century wonder that combines classic Roman and Byzantine architectural elements. Along its walls, stories from the Old Testament are depicted using thousands of tiny tiles to create intricate mosaics. Adjacent mosaics pay loyal tribute to Roman royalty – Emporer Justinian I and Empress Theodora. You can also visit the mausoleum of Galla Placidia, dating from the first half of the 5th century which is not far from the Basilica of San Vitale. Visit the Sant Apollinare Nuovo, and in credible architectural feat erected by Ostrogoth king Theodoric the Great in the 6th century. The discreet Sant Apollinare Nuovo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with hidden treasures. Venture inside and discover floor-to-ceiling mosaics from the Byzantine era, once painted black by Pope Gregory the Great to keep parishioners focused on prayer, and reconstructed after damage from WWI. Find the oldest mosaic cycle related to the life of Christ. Witness the famous St. Andrew's Chapel. Discover evidence of the religious divide during the early Byzantine era that can be seen clearly at St. Andrew's Chapel, where more mosaics tell the story of important people and places of Ravenna. Learn why this site is dubbed the "hidden pearl" of the Archbishop Museum. As the private chapel for the bishops of Ravenna, it contains epigraphs, the Cathedral treasure, and an ivory throne of bishop Maximian. Witness the Neonian Baptistery, named after Bishop Neon, who continued its construction after his predecessor, Ursus. Inside, it stands out for the decoration of the entire mosaic dome dating back to the time of Bishop Neone.

From Bologna: Ravenna Unesco Monuments Guided Tour

3. From Bologna: Ravenna Unesco Monuments Guided Tour

The site is of outstanding universal value being of remarkable significance by virtue of the supreme artistry of the mosaic art that the monuments contain, and also because of the crucial evidence that they provide of artistic and religious relationships and contacts at an important period of European cultural history. In this way the Unesco World Heritage motivated why eight monuments of Ravenna had been added to the World Heritage List. The eternal beauty of the mosaics guarded inside some of the most famous Ravenna Unesco monuments, Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Mausoleo di Galla Placidia, Basilica of San Vitale, Battistero Neoniano and Chapel of Sant'Andrea. The visit that starts from Piazza San Francesco, into the city centre, and leads you to several Unesco monuments.

Best of Ravenna UNESCO Attractions With a Local Expert

4. Best of Ravenna UNESCO Attractions With a Local Expert

Our first stop is Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, a basilica that leaves visitors in awe with its vibrant mosaics and striking architecture. Originally built as a Palatine Chapel, it later became a place of worship. The mosaic panels lining the nave depict biblical scenes, showcasing stories from both the Old and New Testaments. Marvel at the exquisite craftsmanship and vivid colors that bring these narratives to life. One of the most iconic mosaics here is the Procession of the Magi, a stunning portrayal of the three wise men on their journey to meet the baby Jesus. Next, we make our way to the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, a small yet breathtaking monument that showcases the beauty of Ravenna's early Christian art. Step inside this UNESCO World Heritage Site and be mesmerized by the shimmering mosaics that adorn the walls and ceiling. The deep blue hues and intricate designs create an ethereal atmosphere, transporting you back to the 5th century. As you explore the mausoleum, don't miss the remarkable mosaic depicting the Good Shepherd—a powerful symbol of the Christian faith. Our final destination is the Basilica of San Vitale, considered a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. As you step inside, you'll be captivated by the intricate mosaic designs covering the walls and vaulted ceilings. The apse mosaic, featuring Emperor Justinian and his court, is a sight to behold. It is matched in grandeur by the mosaic depicting Empress Theodora, which is equally breathtaking. The basilica's design, with its octagonal shape and towering dome, showcases the architectural prowess of the time. As we conclude our tour of Galla Placidia, Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, and San Vitale, you will leave with a deeper appreciation for the artistry and cultural significance of these remarkable sites. Ravenna's mosaics are truly a feast for the eyes and stand as a testament to the city's rich history and enduring beauty.

Ravenna: Dante Alighieri's Ravenna Audio Guide

5. Ravenna: Dante Alighieri's Ravenna Audio Guide

Journey from late antiquity Ravenna to the Middle Ages through the eyes of Dante Alighieri with this audio guide. Take in Gothic, Byzantine, and Venetian architecture, some of the most beautiful and well-known mosaics in the world, and the final resting place of Dante Alighieri, the writer of the Divine Comedy. Follow in Dante's footsteps to visit some of the city's many UNESCO Sites, including the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Sant’Apollinare Nuova, and the Basilica of San Vitale. Along the way, hear about Giuliano Argentario, the James Bond of antiquity, get acquainted with Camillo Benso, one of the founding fathers of Italy, and find out what it takes to get a statue of yourself placed in the people's square. Feel free to start, pause, or restart at any time and complete your visit at your own pace. If your travel plans change, you can use the audio guide at any date of your choice or use the virtual in-app option for an at-home experience.

Ravenna: Private Guided Walking Tour

6. Ravenna: Private Guided Walking Tour

A private Early-Christian and byzantine mosaics' raw beauty tour: Ravenna has eight Unesco monuments. During this two-hour tour we'll see the perfectly preserved mosaics from the 5th and 6th centuries when Ravenna became the capital of Holy Roman Western Empire. Later it became ruled by the barbarian king Teodorico and then it finally became the seat of the Byzantine prefecture in Italy. We will discover remarkable sarcophagi, learn the myth and reality of Ravenna's origins and Placidia: a prototype of faith and patronage of the arts. We'll find out the history and the munificence, intelligence and significance of Galla Placidia through a visit to the magnificent Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. We will also see the Basilica of San Vitale and the surprising and also surreal underwater mosaics of San Francesco church. In the afternoon l can organise a mosaic workshop for you if you want a longer customisable tour. Itinerary: (all the monuments are close together) -Sant'Appolinare Nuovo San Francesco church and Dante's tomb San Vitale Galla Placidia mausoleum (This tour is customisable)

Ravenna: Mosaics and Food Guided Walking Tour with Tastings

7. Ravenna: Mosaics and Food Guided Walking Tour with Tastings

We will visit Cappella di San Vitale, Mausoleo di Galla Placidia and Sant Apollinare Nuovo that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Now, it's time to dive into the culinary delights of Ravenna. We will start with a traditional snacks like piadina, salami, and cheese. Afterward, we will head to a local Market to taste some of Ravenna's famous pasta dishes, such as cappelletti al ragu and strozzapreti with vegetables sauce. To finish our tour, we will visit a local icecream shop to taste some of the city's famous icecream. In conclusion, this guided tour of Ravenna combined with a gastronomic journey is the perfect way to experience the city's history, culture, and culinary traditions. Join us and indulge in the flavors of Emilia-Romagna.

Ravenna: Private Walking Tour With Mosaics

8. Ravenna: Private Walking Tour With Mosaics

Discover Ravenna and visit the most significant monuments of the city on a walking tour. Join your private guide on a gentle stroll through ancient streets and learn about their rich history. Admire the early Christian and Byzantine mosaics, with tickets included. Meet your guide to explore what was the capital of the Western Roman Empire between the 5th and 8th centuries. Travel through local history, from the days of the Roman Empire to the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths, and finally, to the Byzantine Exarchate. Come across the traces of this intricate past, gathered in the splendid early Christian buildings and UNESCO monuments. Access the world-famous mosaics and marvel at their incredible designs. Gaze at the majestic Basilica of San Apollinare.

Guided Tour in Ravenna, Roman and Bizantine Mosaics

9. Guided Tour in Ravenna, Roman and Bizantine Mosaics

Explore the former capital of the Western Roman Empire and discover early Christian and Byzantine mosaics from the 5th and 6th centuries on a guided walking tour of Ravenna. Stroll the fascinating streets of the old city center, and stop to watch a practical demonstration of mosaic-making techniques along the way. Visit the Church of S. Vitale, commissioned by the Emperor Justinian of Byzantium with masterful mosaics depicting his wife Theodora. See the powerful Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, created to honor the resilient and colorful Empress of the Western Roman Empire. Admire the mosaics of the Neoniano Baptistery near to the ancient cathedral, and discover the tomb of the exiled poet Dante. Visit the private chapel of the Ostrogoth King Theoderic at the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, and more.

Ravenna Audioguide - TravelMate app for your smartphone

10. Ravenna Audioguide - TravelMate app for your smartphone

You will feel like you have a tourist guide at your side who will tell you the history, points of interest and curiosities of the Ravenna and surroundings. The audio contents are professionally created by a group of high-level authors and interpreted by professionals from the television and radio fields. The audioguide includes 22 audio content for a total of 60 minutes. These are the points of interest: THE WONDERS OF LOCAL CUISINE BASILICA OF SAN VITALE MAUSOLEUM OF GALLA PLACIDIA ARCHIEPISCOPAL MUSEUM AND CHAPEL OF ST. ANDREW NEONIAN BAPTISTERY OR ORTHODOX BAPTISTERY BASILICA OF SANT'APOLLINARE NUOVO MAUSOLEUM OF THEODORIC ARIAN BAPTISTERY BASILICA OF SANT'APOLLINARE IN CLASSE DANTE'S TOMB AND NEARBY SITES DOMUS OF THE STONE CARPETS LEANING CIVIC TOWER

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What people are saying about Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna

Overall rating

4.8
(158 reviews)

Our guide Marco was exactly what you need from a guide: funny, professional and full of interesting facts (and not just the boring dates or stories). We discovered Ravenna in a unique way, following the stories and facts told by our guide. Big recommendation for the English tour and Marco! Grazie!!

Really liked the personalized tour. Stephanie was very knowledgeable and engaging. Despite there being a train strike she was in correspondance and carried out the tour as planned.

The tour was very informative, pointing out information and details that we would have missed on our own. In my opinion, the only way to see the mosaics in Ravenna

It was great! Highly recommend it. Smart well informed guide. Very friendly

Stunning. Marco, the guide, was full of enthusiasm, learning and fun