The UNESCO site of Ravenna consists of eight monuments - the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neoniano Baptistery, the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, the Arian Baptistery, the Archbishop's Chapel, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Church of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe - built between the 5th and 6th centuries AD These buildings of worship reflect the important historical, political and religious events of Ravenna, which became the first capital of the Western Roman Empire (AD 402), later known in Italy as the Ostrogoth and Byzantine capital.
The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, of small dimensions, but covered inside by a precious and evocative mosaic decoration on a dark blue background, belongs to the tradition of the Latin architecture of the West. The Neonian Baptistery, resplendent with marble inlays, stuccoes and polychrome mosaics in the dome, is a refined and perfectly preserved example of early Christian baptistery. Of the most shining period of the Goths' kingdom, the Arian Baptistery preserves mosaics representing the baptism of Christ, and iconographic peculiarities that reflect the principles of Aryan faith. Also under the reign of Theodoric was built the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, with the function of a palatine chapel, whose mosaics belong to the Roman stylistic tradition and at the same time show the strong Byzantine influence. The Mausoleum of Theodoric is a unique and unrepeatable architectural episode: built with large blocks of Istrian stone, with a central plan, it is the only surviving example of a tomb of a barbarian king of this period. The Archiepiscopal Chapel, on the other hand, is the only Orthodox monument built during the reign of Theodoric. The Basilica of San Vitale, of the Justinian age, is one of the greatest achievements of Byzantine architecture in Italy, and concentrates in itself elements of Western and Eastern tradition. Finally, at 5 kilometers from Ravenna rises the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe, which stands out for its grandiose basilic forms, the cylindrical bell tower, the spatiality of the interior, the wealth of marble and mosaics.
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