Basilica of San Vitale

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Ravenna, Italy

Basilica of San Vitale Ravenna Reviews

Vipin Vipin
691 reviews
Iconic, stunning, essential visit Apr 10, 2011
Constructed around the sixth century, the basilica is perhaps the most famous sight in Ravenna, and certainly the most iconic. It’s a great fusion of Byzantine and Roman influences. While the doorways are Romanesque, the mosaics are of Byzantine influence and are remarkably well preserved. The central mosaic shows Christ surrounded by the apostles and other bishops. Though the detail is excellent, it is rather unique to see the adult Christ depicted without a beard. On either side, there are mosaics of Emperor Justinian I and empress Theodora. They are almost depicted as gods in the scene here, and perhaps not surprisingly, I am sure this was intentional and was intended as a sign of political might when the basilica was built. As the empress was quite a well-travelled and raunchy woman in her younger days, it’s rather amazing that she charmed the Emperor into marrying her. Even if that’s understandable, it’s still unusual to see her depicted in this solemn and austere way, as she was quite different in real life.

As this basilica served as the inspiration for the Aya Sofya mosque in Istanbul, and contains the most well-preserved Byzantine mosaics (unless you’re in Constantinople), the artistic and architectural value of this place shouldn’t be underestimated. All in all, this is a very memorable visit and I highly recommend it. If you have come to Ravenna, you are probably here to see this. If not, go see it!
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
bernard69 says:
belated congrats!
Posted on: Jul 29, 2011
vulindlela says:
Posted on: Jul 21, 2011
monky says:
Hi Vipin congrats on your today's featured review! very good:)
Posted on: Jul 21, 2011
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