The UNESCO World cultural Heritage-listed Church that Sant’Apollinare Nuovo has some that the many impressive and interesting late Antiquity and Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna, Italy.

You are watching: Both the front and the interior of the church of s. apollinare nuovo in ravenna include:


The Basilica the Sant’Apollinare Nuovo is one of the optimal sights to see once visiting Ravenna close to Venice and also Bologna. Ravenna has eight UNESCO World cultural Heritage-listed sites of significant early Christian monuments and also Byzantine mosaics with this church among the many interesting. Sant’Apollinare Nuovo was the palatine church of the Ostrogoth King Theodoric the great and therefore adds amazing historical next notes to the art of the magnificent wall mosaics.

The Basilica that Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna


The church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo is an early-sixth-century basilica, initially serving together the palatine church the the Ostrogoth King Theodoric. It to be originally specialized as one Arian church to Christ the Redeemer. In 561, it to be re-dedicated together a roman Catholic Church to St martin of Tours and in 856, as Sant’Apollinare Nuovo after the remains of the saint was moved from the an in similar way named church in Classe.


The exterior of the church is quite plain and also unremarkable except a quite attractive 38-m high cylindrical campanile that Ottonian design erected probably in the tenth century. The straightforward marble arcade is native the 16 century when numerous of the mosaics in the church were destroyed.

In comparison to the Basilica of mountain Vitale, which is practically entire eastern in appearance, the Basilica that Sant’Apollinare Nuovo shows an interesting combination of eastern and also western layout influences. The mosaics are clearly Byzantine in personality while the long nave (42 x 21 m) there is no transept is more typical Italian in style.



The internal of the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo is practically bare, which help to attract attention come the overwhelming mosaics top top the top lateral walls on both political parties of the nave.

Even though a huge number the mosaics in the Basilica the Sant’Apollinare Nuovo were lost through the centuries, the staying artworks are among the most impressive mosaics in the world. Originally, mosaics would have actually covered many of the interior but many were lost in earthquakes, wars, structure alterations, and botched reconstruction attempts.

The enduring mosaics sheathe the lateral walls of both political parties of the nave. Art historians argue around the precise dating of some mosaics but almost all room at the very least from the sixth century. The inquiry is simply which part – before or ~ Theodoric?

Looking indigenous the top down, the mosaics in Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna have the right to be split into three horizontal bands:

The upper band, above window level, days from the regime of Theodoric the Great, and also shows in thirteen panels on each side of the nave miracles from the life of Christ (left wall) and also the passion (right wall). Generally Arian, Christ is quiet beardless top top the left wall. This is less common in the orthodox tradition yet not unknown. Other Arian icons were removed once the basilica ended up being Roman Catholic.

The center band reflects biblical figures alternating with windows. Just like the upper band, this mosaics date from the time of Theodoric the good and are in the Greek-Roman style of individualistic facial features in addition to each figure being displayed with various items and also symbols.

The lower band is an ext Byzantine in format with figures lacking individuality and mostly days from around half a century later. By this time, Arianism to be outlawed and the church currently Orthodox (Roman Catholic) and also rededicated to Saint young name of Tours.

On the left wall, the mosaics feature a procession that 22 virgins led by the Three emperors / Magie native the port of Classe towards the Madonna with Child. ~ above the ideal wall, 26 martyrs space led native the palace of Theodoric towards Christ surrounding by angels. Christ previously carried a publication but restoration job-related in 1860 changed it with a scepter.

Note the curtains in the palace of Theodoric – after byzantine took direct manage of Ravenna, recommendations to Theodoric and his time were removed and replaced by these curtains – some pillars still feature the original hands the were not tiled out.

(The surrounding attraction that the ruins of Theodoric’s royal residence is now thought about to be the damages of a church quite than the famously sumptuous royal residence of the Ostrogoth king.)

Visiting the Basilica that Sant’Apollinare Nuovo

The Basilica of Sant’Apollinare is located simply a few blocks from the train terminal to the west the the town center. If go to and from various other top sights, it is basic to view the tomb of Dante and also the Arian Baptistry en route.

See Visiting UNESCO-Listed Sights in Ravenna for opened hours and also ticket information.

NEXT: Basilica of san Vitale

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Time-slot appointments are currently essential to check out the peak sights in Ravenna. This is simplest done when buying the ticket online.

Book Guided tourism of Ravenna — tourism are usually three hours. Because that tours not consisting of admission fees, approximately €10 per human must be added. Small groups and also families may find far better value on private tours.

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Filed Under: Emilia Romagna, Italy, Ravenna Tagged With: 0GT, 2019D12, AMPP, Arian, Basilica, Byzantine, early Christian, Emilia-Romagna, J1, late Antiquity, Mosaics, P21, Ravenna, Sant’Apollinare, Theodoric, Theodoric the Great, peak Sights, UNESCO

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