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Uncover Ravenna's glittering past with experts Rowena Loverance or Dr Sally Dormer. In 402AD, the city became the capital of the western Roman empire and mosaic-decorated churches were built. Ravenna flourished during the early sixth century under the Ostrogoths, who commissioned further splendid monuments. In 540AD it became the main outpost of the Byzantine empire in western Europe, experiencing another lavish period of patronage, and the Lombards assumed control in 751AD. Decline was inevitable, but vital in ensuring the survival of Ravenna’s illustrious past.
Fly from London (regional connections available) to Bologna with British Airways. Transfer to Ravenna and stay at the historic Palazzo Bezzi Hotel (or similar) for 3 nights. Afternoon visit to Sant’Apollinare in Classe, which demonstrates the form and function of early Christian basilical churches. (D)
Visit the so-called mausoleum of Galla Placidia, which contains fine Early Christian vault mosaics. Continue to San Vitale, one of the most significant centrally planned Byzantine churches to survive. Afternoon visit to the Residenza dei Vescovi to view masterpieces from the Museo Arcivescovile, the archiepiscopal chapel and Ravenna's 18th-century cathedral. Visit a modern mosaic studio to see mosaics being created (subject to confirmation). (B)
Visit Theodoric’s Palace and the octagonal Orthodox baptistery. Continue to the basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, built by Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths, as a palatine church; the late fifth-century octagonal Arian baptistery, with a mosaic of Christ’s baptism; Dante’s tomb and the basilica of San Francesco. Visit the city art museum to see a display of contemporary mosaics. Continue to Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra. Only discovered in 1993, this Byzantine palace contains marble inlays and mosaics. (B, D)
Morning visit to the mausoleum of Theodoric. This unique 10-sided mausoleum was built from huge blocks of ashlar masonry on the outskirts of Ravenna. Drive to San Pietro in Silvis, which dates from the seventh century and provides useful comparisons with the churches in Ravenna. Lunch at Bagnacavallo, before continuing to Bologna. Fly to London. (B, L)
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
This tour is based in 4-star accommodation.
A collection of expert accompanied tours focusing on creativity in its many forms. No prior knowledge of the subject matter is required. All tours can be viewed at our Arts & Cultures page.
This tour is fully escorted throughout by the lecturer, as well as an experienced local guide where necessary.
This tour involves some long walks over uneven ground and therefore requires a good level of fitness.
Please note that the exclusive and individual nature of private visits means that they are subject to confirmation nearer the time of departure. Also, churches, private houses and other buildings often have fluid opening times. If any visits have to be rearranged, please be assured that we will seek alternatives of equal interest.
This itinerary can be taken privately on a date that suits
you, for which guideline prices are shown.
Alternatively, it can be tailored to your exact
requirements. Please call to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or
Rowena Loverance is a
Byzantine art historian,
specialising in sculpture,
mosaics and icons. She
worked for more than
20 years at the British
Museum and is a visiting
research fellow at King’s College, London.
Dr Sally Dormer is a
freelance art historian
and lecturer. She read
history at the University of
Durham, before gaining
an MA in medieval art and
a PhD at the Courtauld
Institute of Art. She is a course tutor and
lecturer at the Victoria & Albert Museum
and also lectures for the Art Fund and the
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
IMA2020: 3 Nights
The historical knowledge that Professor Robin Cormac, our UK guide, shared with us brought Ravenna alive.Mrs Josephine Rednall