Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna (1996)

Back to index

Ravenna was the seat of the Roman Empire in the 5th century and then of Byzantine Italy until the 8th century. It has a unique collection of early Christian mosaics and monuments. 

All eight buildings the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Baptistery, the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, the Arian Baptistery, the Archiepiscopal Chapel, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Church of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe were constructed in the 5th and 6th centuries. They show great artistic skill, including a wonderful blend of Graeco-Roman tradition, Christian iconography and oriental and Western styles. 

  • Italy 1990. Ancient Byzantine Mosaic from Ravenna. 

Italy 1990. Ancient Byzantine Mosaics from Ravenna.

Italy 1997. Ravenna.

Ravenna is a city in northern Italy, the capital of Ravenna Province, in Emilia-Romagna Region, near the Adriatic Sea (with which it is connected by the Corsini Canal). The city is famed for its buildings that date from the 5th, 6th, and 7th centuries and for the mosaics that decorate many of the interiors. Ravenna also contains the tombs of the Ostrogothic emperor Theodoric and of Dante. 
  • Italy 1997. Ravenna. 
At about the beginning of the Christian era, the Roman emperor Augustus built a canal connecting Ravenna with the Po River and enlarged its port of Classis (the modern Classe), which he made the chief station of the Roman fleet in the northern Adriatic Sea. In 402 the Roman emperor Flavius Honorius, threatened by the invasion of northern Italy by the Visigoths, moved to Ravenna from Mediolanum (present-day Milan). 

Thereafter Ravenna was the chief imperial residence, until its capture in 476 by the German barbarian ruler Odoacer. In 493, after a three-year siege, Theodoric took Ravenna from Odoacer and made it his capital. The city was captured in 540 by the Byzantine general Belisarius. Ravenna thereupon became the seat of the Byzantine viceroys, called exarchs, who governed Italy. 

  • Italy 1937. Emperor Augustus. 

Italy 1937. Emperor Augustus.

In 751, after a long struggle, Ravenna was captured by the Lombard king Aistulf (reigned 749-56). Six years later the Frankish king Pepin the Short, who had conquered the Lombards, awarded Ravenna to the papacy. Ravenna remained strong for a time under a line of archbishops; however, because it lacked revenue to maintain the port and the channel to the Po River, the city declined. Venice assumed the trade of the city, and, in the 15th century, Ravenna itself came under Venetian control. Ravenna again became part of the papal domain in 1509; in 1861 it was incorporated into the kingdom of Italy. 

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Italy (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Italy for further information about such sites. 

Back to index

Revised 01 aug 2006  
Copyright 1999 Heindorffhus 
All Rights Reserved