The Church of San Nicolò, dedicated to the bishop of Myra (patron of Bari) was founded in the second half of the 13th century, like the adjoining monastery, seat of the Hermits of St. Augustine order.
The new building replaced the former 8th-century church of S. Nicolò "dei Britti" or "in vineis", that was located outside the city walls, not far from the city centre.
Over the centuries, the church underwent substantial changes. In particular, at the end of the 17th century Father Cesare Pronti frescoed the two chapels of Saint Augustine and Saint Monica and painted seven altar pieces.
The religious activity of the church and monastery continued until 1866. Thereafter, San Nicolò was first used as a storehouse for machinery and later sold to the Ministry of War, which turned it into a military riding school. Since that moment, the building was progressively deprived of its treasures: notwithstanding the restoration of the bell-tower (1911-12), there was a continual succession of plunderings until 1921, when the church became a military garage.
When in 1983 the San Nicolò Complex became the property of the Municipality of Ravenna, the Government Department responsible for the environment of Ravenna started up systematic restoration works.
Today, the church is a museum and hosts TAMO - All the adventure of the mosaic, a permanent exhibition dedicated to the fascinating story of mosaic from ancient times to the present day.
Edited by the editorial team
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Last modified date: 05/04/2017