Church of San Michele in Africisco in Ravenna

The San Michele in Africisco Church stands in the Piazza Andrea Costa along the Via IV Novembre in Ravenna. This church dates back to the 6th century. Its main attraction is a wall mosaic in the apse. What remains of the desecrated church is now part of a clothing store.

San Michele in Africisco Church Ravenna

Useful information

The address of the former Chiesa di San Michele in Africisco is Via IV Novembre, 37. The nearest bus stop is in Piazza Baracca (line 1). Opening times: . Ticket price: . (Note that prices and times may be subject to change.)

History and description

San Michele in Africisco Church Ravenna
The apse mosaic has been moved to Berlin’s Bode Museum.

The San Michele in Africisco Church has a basilical floor plan and was built in the 6th century. The patrons were the banker Giuliano Argentario and his relative Bacauda, who had made a vow to the Archangel Michael. Archbishop Massimiliano consecrated the church in 547.

The church is famous for its floor and wall mosaics. The most notable one was in the apse and depicts the archangels Michael and Gabriel, with Jesus lifting the cross and an open codex.

Over the centuries, the basilica was rebuilt and restored several times.

The bell tower dates from the 15th century, as does the current facade. A plaque in the bell tower shows the Descent from the Cross of Christ and refers to the place where the newly dead were kept before being buried.

In 1805, when the church fell into disrepair, it was deconsecrated. The building was sold to Andrea Cicognani, who converted the left nave into a fish store. Today the former church is the seat of a clothing store.

What remains of the old church is now incorporated in a fashion hall in the heart of Ravenna. The famous apse mosaic ended up in the Bode Museum in Berlin. Other fragments ca be seen in museums in Torcello (one of the islands of Venice), St. Petersburg and London. The floor mosaic is the only part of the internal decoration that can still be admired in Ravenna itself, in its National Museum.

San Michele in Africisco Church, Ravenna


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