Arian Baptistery in Ravenna

The Arian Baptistery in Ravenna was built in the early 6th century during the reign of Theodoric the Great. The exterior of this octagonal building is characterized by apses and, in the upper part, some openings with round arches. Along the outer wall ran a deambulatory, which was interrupted only at the eastern apse. Except for the baptismal font, the interior is completely empty. The dome is decorated with mosaics.

Arian Baptistery in Ravenna

Useful information

The address of the Baptistery of the Arians is Via degli Ariani, 1 – Ravenna (tel. +39 0544 543710). The nearest bus stop is Via Farini Liceo (lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 18, 70, 80, 90,140, 141, 145, 151, 154, 155, 157, 159, 161, 162, 163, 176, 187 and 195. Opening times: From April 1 to October 27 from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm. From October 28 to March 31, it is from 08.30 to 16.30. The ticket office closes 15 minutes before the monument closes. Ticket price: The entrance fee is 1 Euro. EU residents between 18 and 25 years old pay 0.50 Euro. Younger than 18 do not have to pay anything. The monument is free on the first Sunday of the month. (Note that prices and times may be subject to change.)

History and description

Battistero degli Ariani Ravenna
Arian Baptistery

The Battistero degli Ariani (“Baptistery of the Arians”) was built in the 5th century during the reign of Emperor Theodoric the Great.

Like most of the buildings built in the city during the same era, the Baptistery is partially below current street level. Therefore, the lower two meters of the monument are not visible.

The building is made of brick and is octagonal in shape. It is believed to originally have been part of a larger complex.

The interior is bare, to such an extent that even the walls are not painted. It is thought, howver, that the walls used to be frescoed.

What to see

Baptismal font, Arian Baptistery Ravenna
Baptismal font

The dome is decorated with beautiful mosaics. These are less complex in nature than those in the Baptistery Neoniano.

A feature of the Arian cult is that Christ is both divine and human in nature.

A naked, beardless Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. The old man on the left represents a pagan river god. The white dove above the scene represents the Holy Spirit. The figures depicted around this scene are the twelve apostles.

The only object inside the building is the baptismal font.

Arian Baptistery, Ravenna

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