Basilica di San Vitale

Basilica di San Vitale, Ravenna

Basilica di San Vitale
5
Historic Sites • Religious Sites
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
About
History As a symbol of the Archiepiscopal Chancellery of Ravenna, San Vitale is one of the greatest works of late Roman art. Famous for its mosaics commissioned by Archbishop Maximian (546/556 AD), the basilica is a place of contemplation. While the body descends its steps the spirit rises to the Truth. A masterpiece to be admired for its evident beauty and its hidden, precise, evocative theological argument.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Plan your visit
The area
Address
Best nearby
Restaurants
421 within 3 miles
Attractions
88 within 6 miles
Popular mentions

5.0
4,630 reviews
Excellent
4,155
Very good
416
Average
39
Poor
3
Terrible
17

JJJC_Family
Virginia498 contributions
Nov 2021
The crown jewel of Ravenna, in my opinion. Truly magnificent mosaics with a lovely dome and all on a grand scale make this a must-see. Worth coming to Ravenna for this building alone. In fact, for someone who loves mosaics above just about everything else, with the exception of great natural beauty, this is nirvana. The only thing better than great mosaics is great mosaics mated with great stained glass windows. One more point that I often make and it’s appropriate here as well is that you see pictures of this building on the internet, in books and videos and it looks lovely, but no pictures I have seen begin to do it justice. You look at the pictures and you think it’s going to be great, but when you see it in person, there’s a feeling of awe at its grandeur. I also know that it is almost incomprehensible to me that anyone could create such a masterpiece out of little blocks of colored glass. The tragedy for us is we got to the historic area late in day and bought timed tickets which severely limited our ability to spend much time here. Even worse we went to the Church of Saint Mary Maggiore, which turned out to be just outside of San Vitale’s property and they would not let us back in. We did not know that and I was to say the least, annoyed, as we were intending to spend another ten minutes there. Anyway, a day in Ravenna will be a day you won’t forget. Plan on going someday.
Written January 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

trooper92
St. Gallen551 contributions
Oct 2020 • Couples
Although the mosaics only cover a small portion of the church, they are worth even a long trip to Ravenna. Beyond the mosaics, explore the inside vaults and remainders of 1500 year old stucco ornament. Extremely impressive site.
Written October 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Asiyah Noemi K
Pula, Croatia4,594 contributions
Nov 2019
St. Vitale's Basilica hides incredible beauty. It is a special privilege to be in this Basilica and to admire this marvelous mastery of mosaic construction, painting and decoration. St. Vitale's Basilica is a Byzantine church dedicated to St. Vitale (a Roman slave and Christian martyr whose cult was strengthened in the late 4th century), built by Emperor Justinian from 540-547. It is the most significant monument of Byzantine architecture in Western Europe and one of the most significant monuments of Byzantine art in general. With every step, with every glance at the beautiful mosaics in me relive indescribably beautiful emotions. The history of the Basilica is certainly interesting and significant. The construction of the Basilica of St. Vitale was initiated by the Bishop of Ravenna Ecclesius after a trip to Byzantium with Pope John in 525 AD. The following year, Amalasunth succeeded Father Teodorik as the ruler of Goth and Ravenna. Although both were Aryans, Amalasunth was more tolerant of Catholics. Construction began in 526 on the site of the martyrdom of St. Vitali. The church was funded almost entirely by one rich individual, Julianus Argentarius. He was the royal envoy of Justinian, sent to prepare the way for Byzantine conquest. The Byzantines conquered Ravenna in 540 and the Basilica, which began under the Goths, was completed by Byzantium in 548. On the large mosaic in the apse is a young beardless Christ. He sits on a globe, with an angel on each side. He holds a diamond crown in his hands, which he gives to St. Vitale on the left. In the right part of the mosaic stands Bishop Ecclesius holding a model of the church in which they are located. All the lateral surfaces of the presbytery are filled with mosaics with scenes from the Old Testament (Sacrifice of Abel, Sacrifice of Abraham, Hospitality of Abraham, etc.). On either side of the altar are magnificent mosaics (Emperor Justinian with entourage on the right, and Empress Theodore with entourage on the left) symbolizing and reflecting the power and glory of the imperial court. The portraits of the figures depict the Byzantine ideal of beauty: high elongated figures, and richly decorated clothing. Each scene is devoid of movement. The characters on these mosaics are typified, static, ceremonial. The sky is always the color of gold in early Christianity and Byzantium, in the desire to place the characters in a spiritual environment. A magnificent Basilica, worthy of all admiration for lovers of architecture and art as well as those who are not.
Written January 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Witless_Protection
Bedford, UK32 contributions
Aug 2020
Beautiful and atmospheric, the most enjoyable of the sites on the self-guided tour. The mosaics are incredible and varied, and pretty unique, but the Basilica itself is also very intricate and fascinating. The town itself is also lovely: clean, tidy and pretty streets. Plenty of opportunities for wonderful photographs, too.
Written January 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Victoria Taylor
Lowton, UK246 contributions
Feb 2020 • Couples
We passed through Ravenna on our way to Venezia. I didn't really know what to expect from this place. There's plenty of parking (paid) in the centre and we decided to stay for a few hours to explore, buying tickets to see the five main historical attractions, including Basilica di San Vitale. Certainly an impressive place for best suited for those who are really into historic venues.
Written February 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

DERtravels
Upland, CA1,345 contributions
Oct 2019
We had no idea of the beauty of the mosaics in Ravenna. We had heard of them, but to think they are so beautiful and also so well preserved!

The mosaic in the floor is like a stone carpet. The current one is from the 17th century The walls were glass of the Byzantine era.

There is so many stories in the mosaics, who the figures represent, etc. It is well worth reading about them before and again after your visit. Be sure to get a local guide while you are there.

Look closely at the Mosaic with the women in the middle of the angels. Those are real pearls and gold, not just artglass.
Written September 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

michkmich
Athens, Greece37 contributions
Feb 2019
Ravenna and especially Basilica San Vitale is a place somebody has to visit, study, enjoy, understand at least once in his life.
The whole art history of todays Europe was reborn here.
Emperor of Constantinople Justinianus and his wife Theodora will look at you from their mosaic on top of the church. Unique!
Written January 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Bill A
Spring Lake, NJ496 contributions
Feb 2020
The mosaics in the Basilica San Vitale are truly outstanding. They rival some of the best that I have seen in Rome and Sicily. This is easily one of the top attractions in Ravenna and a great reason to put Ravenna on your list if cities to visit in Italy.
Written February 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

g w
52 contributions
Feb 2020
Really, if you are looking for the perfect pics, better stay at home and look in the net, or buy a book... the experience of standing in this magnificent place, surrounded by all this beauty, is hard to describe... and the photos are just a part of it. A highlight for anyone interested in history, art history and beauty. Waited many yaers to come, and was not disappointed...
Written March 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

YouBeeTs
Trieste, Italy681 contributions
Aug 2021
This wonderful church leaves you speechless. Mosaics are wonderful. Quite unique, in Italy, as a church with an octagonal layout. It is visited together with the adjacent Galla Placidia mausoleum, another jewel.
Written August 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 844
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Frequently Asked Questions about Basilica di San Vitale

Basilica di San Vitale is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking Basilica di San Vitale tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 30 Basilica di San Vitale tours on Tripadvisor