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Basilica di San Vitale

Galla Placidia Mausoleum

Link to Photos of Ravenna's Imperial mosaics





The Basilica di San Vitale (consecrated in 548 by Archbishop Maximian) is the biggest, most imperial and sumptuous of the Ravenna churches.  It has an octagonal plan so it's not a classic basilica shape.

Byzantine Emperor Justinian (483 - 527 - 565 (82)) looks out towards his Empress Theodora to either side of the windows of the mosaiced Apse (below and above right)


 Link to Close-up Photos of the Imperial mosaics

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (mid four hundreds)

Galla Placidia (390-450) was a well connected lady - daughter of the Emperor Theodosius I (ruled 379395), sister of the Western Emperor Flavius Honorius (ruled 393423), wife of the Western Emperor Constantius III (ruled 421), and mother of the Western Emperor Valentinian III (ruled 425455).  She also spent five years forcibly married to the Visigoth Chieftan Ataulphus, after being captured by him when Rome finally fell in 410.  She adorned Ravenna with a number of churches.  The small mausoleum in the grounds of San Vitale, known (incorrectly) as the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, contains some beautiful and gentle examples of early Byzantine mosaics.


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