The Sant’Apollinare Nuovo Basilica in Ravenna was commissioned by the Gothic king Theodoric the Great in the year 505. However, it acquired its current name only in the 9th century, when the relics of Sant’Apollinare were placed in the church. The round bell tower to the right of the church was added in the 9th or 10th century. The basilica is especially famous for its mosaics, which cover a huge wall area.
Sant’Apollinare Nuovo Basilica Ravenna
The address of the Basilica di Sant’Apollinarre Nuovo is Via Roma, 52 (Tel. 800 303 999). The nearest bus stop is Via Carducci Liceo Classico (lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 18, 70, 80, 90, 145, 147, 149, 150, 151, 156, 159, 161, 162, 176. Opening times: The Sant’Apollinare Nuovo Basilica is open from 09:00 to 17:00 from 1 April to 30 September and from 09:00 to 19:00 during the month of October. The rest of the year it is from 09.30 to 17.00. On 25 December, the basilica is closed. The ticket office closes 15 minutes before closing time. Ticket price: The entrance fee is 9,50 euros, but this includes the San Vitale Basilica, the Battistero Neoniano, the Galla Placidia Mausoleum and the Museo and Capella Arcivescovile. The discounted price is 8,50 euros. Children under 10, residents and people with disabilities enter for free.
History and description
The Sant’Apollinare Nuovo Basilica is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The building was a temple of the cult of the Arians in the 6th century, when it was erected. Saint Martin of Tours is believed to have been present at the dedication.
The commissioner of the construction was Theodoric the Great. After the Byzantine emperor Justinian I the Great conquered the city, the building was transformed into a Catholic church dedicated to Martin of Tours.
The church itself shows traces of the transition to the Catholic cult. The mosaics themed on the Arian cult were removed and several portraits of Theodoric and his followers were altered.
The only mosaics that did not undergo any changes were the ones depicting events from the lives of Christ and the prophets. The views of the port of Classe and Theodoric’s Palatium were also spared.
When the relics of Apollinare were placed in the church in the 9th century, a new consecration took place.
The façade of the church has a pointed roof and is preceded by a wide portico. A marble double lancet window can be seen in the center. The round bell tower stands to the left of the church.
The interior of the Sant’Apollinare Nuovo Basilica consists of three naves.
What to see
What is striking about the mosaics in the church is that the figures depicted are more compact than those in the Galla Placidia Mausoleum.