The Sant’Agata Maggiore Basilica is one of the oldest churches in Ravenna. It was built in the 5th century, but its current early Christian appearance is actually due to restoration work in the early 20th century. A highlight is the mosaic in the apse of this three-nave church. The Sant’Agata Altar stands against the back wall and contains the mortal remains of San Sergio Martire and Bishop Agnello.
Sant’Agata Maggiore Basilica Ravenna
The address of the basilica is Via Mazzini, 46 – Ravenna (+39 0544 31327). The nearest bus stop is on Via Guaccimanni (lines 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 18, 70, 80, 145, 154, 155, 159, 161, 162, 176, 187.) Opening times:
The Sant’Agata Maggiore Basilica is usually only open during religious services. For those in Ravenna on Sundays, it is recommended to visit the church between 10:30 a.m. and noon. This is the time between the end of the first Mass and the start of the second one. Otherwise, you can try at 17:00 during winter time and 19:00 during summer time. Ticket price: Free. (Note that prices and times may be subject to change.)
History and description
The Sant’Agata Maggiore Basilica was built in the 5th century, but changed its appearance more than once over the centuries. The church is located in the center of a lawn with sarcophagi, ancient columns and the round bell tower from the 16th century.
Like most ancient buildings in the city, the church is below street level.
The facade is preceded by a quadriportico. The most striking features of this façade are the frieze above the portal and the reliefs on the pillars placed against the back wall.
What to see
The interior consists of three naves. Inside, objects found during excavations in the last century are on display. The sarcophagi found in the church date mostly from the 6th century.
Along the right nave one can admire four canopies. The most interesting one of the four was placed above the altar where the remains of San Sergio and Bishop Agnelli are kept.
The painting above the altar depicts “Sant’Agata Accepting Martyrdom, with Saints Caterina and Cecilia.”
The apse, once decorated with precious mosaics, is illuminated by five windows. Due to earthquakes, many of these mosaics were destroyed, to be replaced by frescoes.
A strip on the main altar depicts two peacocks.