The Duomo is in the south of the town and, no surprises here, it's located in Piazza Duomo. It has been described as a Baroque hodgepodge and it certainly offers something different to the Byzantine nature of the town generally.
Fondest memory: Having said that, when you enter and are confronted by what is a relatively bland interior after you've viewed the Byzantine stuff, you will find it hard to get excited though the sheer volume of the dome is impressive, even if its six sided decoration leaves you wanting more.
Then, the Roman writing beneath the domes will leave you wishing for a dramatic mosaic.
The pilasters (half columns) and the decorations between them are quite attractive but I predict you will find that 15 minutes will see you heading for the door......unless you've come to pray.
The Neonian Bapistery (Battistero Neoniano, also known as the Battistero Ortodosso or Orthodox Baptistery) is an octagonal baptistery built in the 5th century. It is the oldest monument in Ravenna and contains some of the city's most beautiful Byzantine mosaics.
The Battistero Neoniano was built as part of Ravenna's orthodox (non-Arian) cathedral, which was built in the early 5th century but no longer stands in its original form. The baptistery was converted from an old Roman bath-house, beginning under Bishop Ursus around 400 AD.
The building was finished by Bishop Neone (451-75) in the second half of the 5th century, during which the mosaics were added to the dome. It is from this bishop that the Battistero Neoniano gets its name.
The octagonal baptistery is constructed of brick and topped with a dome made of hollow tubes to save weight. The building looks like it has sunk below ground, but actually the street level has risen almost 10 feet since it was built. Beside the baptistery is the round Romanesque campanile of the cathedral, dating from the 10th century.
In the center of the baptistery's cupola is a magnificent mosaic laid out in concentric circles like a great wheel. The central medallion depicts the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. The right arm of John the Baptist, the dove, and Christ's head are all 18th century restorations. The dish that St. John is using to pour the water was added in the 19th century by a Roman artisan named Felice Kibel, who was charged with restoring the mosaics and went overboard with creative license.
But the majority of the magnificent dome mosaic remains remarkably intact in its original form, given its venerable age. The lower right of the central baptism scene is a personification of the Jordan River as an old man rising from the water, holding a reed in one hand and offering a garment to Christ in the other.
This scene is surrounded by a large inner ring with the Twelve Apostles, who carry crowns in veiled hands and walk slowly in procession. The men, each identified by name in the mosaic, are depicted in deep blues and sparkling golds. (pic 2)
The outer ring of the mosaic is divided into eight sections, with alternating empty thrones, representing the divinity of Christ, and altars with open Gospel books. The thrones are flanked by depictions of the celestial gardens, while the altars are flanked by empty chairs to represent the place reserved in heaven for the Elect.
For comparison, be sure to visit Ravenna's Arian Baptistery, which also has a baptism scene in its dome.
Fondest memory: The arches supporting the dome are decorated with mosaics of golden acanthus leaves on blue and red backgrounds and stucco reliefs of prophets and biblical scenes, which date from the same period as the dome mosaics (451-75).
In the wall spandrels below are gold vines and prophets on a deep blue background. The arches over the niches have gold mosaic inscriptions on a blue background with red borders, decorated with abstract designs. The underside of the arches have crosses and trees on golden backgrounds.
The inlaid marble designs on the walls, including porphyry disks and green marble rectangles, are preserved from the ancient Roman baths. A Byzantine altar and a Roman marble vase can be seen in the side niches. The large octagonal baptismal font dates from the 12th or 13th century.
Basilica of the Holy Spirit (Spirito Santo)
It was the church of the Arian bishops, later dedicated to the Catholic cult by Archbishop Agnello (556-559). The appearance of the church today is not very different from the original one. The façade is dominated by the 16th century portico, made up of five big arches in the front and by an arch on the northern short side. The church is nave and two aisles divided by fourteen columns surmounted by capitals and dosserets. The ambo, in Greek marble, is 6th century and is decorated on both faces: on each face there are two crosses laterally on a globe, while in the curved central part there are small fluted columns which form three aedicules with shell and tympanum.
The most ancient of Ravenna monuments, at least with regard to when building began, it dates to the end of the 4th or the beginning of the 5th century. It is a simple octagonal plan brick building with four large niches spreading towards the exterior and with the doors buried (the original level is about three metres below the present one). The Baptistery was splendidly decorated with mosaics by bishop Neone in 450. Inside, besides very beautiful mosaic decoration of Hellenic-Roman influence, several stucco-works and marble parts remain. In the middle there is an octagonal font of Greek marble and porphyry, reworked in the 16th century, which still preserves some original fragments.
Basilica of S
Basilica of S. Apollinare Nuovo
The Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo was built in the 6th century originally as Theodoric's palatinate church. Perhaps the façade was originally closed by a four sided portico, but now it is preceded by a simple but harmonious 16th century marble portico. On the right side there is a cylindrical bell-tower of the 9th or 10th century, characteristic of the buildings of Ravenna. From the ancient building we have the magnificent mosaics with the largest surface area which has come down to us from antiquity. The processions of Virgins and Martyrs represent one of the most typical examples of the Byzantine style.
The Dome is not very beauty I think but near here you can find the “Museo Arcivescovile” with the famous ivory desk.
In Via di Roma you can find “Basilica of S. Apollinare Nuovo”. Here you can see the rests of Teodorico’s Palace.
Near the train station there is Teodorico’s Museum. Teodorico, the Ostrogothinc king erected this sepulchre in 520. When he died he was put inside, but after a long time his bones were lost.