A masterpiece of early Christian and Byzantine art in the heart of Ravenna
The Basilica di San Vitale, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, is among Italy’s greatest early Christian and Byzantine artistic masterpieces. It stands in the heart of Ravenna, near the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, featuring mosaics that honour the sister of the Roman Emperor Flavius Honorius.
The Basilica, built in a few years between 532 and 547 under the order of Bishop Ecclesius, has a distinctive geometric shape and features the perfect blend of Roman architectural elements, such as the dome and two towers, and Byzantine ones, including the elegant capitals and exposed brickwork.
Inside, it captivates visitors with the splendid mosaics in the apse and the imposing central vault that was adorned with frescos in the 17th century. On the floor in front of the altar, in the presbytery area, is a marble depiction of a circular labyrinth in the shape of a shell, symbolising the pilgrimage of souls to the Holy Land.