Galla Placidia (386 - 450 AD), sister of the Roman Emperor Honorius who had transferred the Capital of the Western Empire from Milan to Ravenna in 402 AD, built this little Mausoleum with a Latin cross plan around 425-450 as her own resting place. However, the mausoleum was never used for that purpose, because the empress died and was buried in Rome in 450.
Now a separate building, the mausoleum was once connected to the south side of the narthex of the closed Church of Santa Croce, erected by Galla Placidia in the second quarter of the V Century.
The outside of the building is very sober compared to the magnificence of the inside, decorated with mosaics made even brighter by the golden light filtering through the alabaster windows. The lower surfaces of the interior are covered with marble slabs, while the upper part of the building – including the walls of the vault, the lunettes, and the cupola - is entirely decorated with mosaics. The themes represented in the mosaic decoration show traces of the influence of both Hellenic-Roman and Christian tradition and aim at representing the victory of eternal life over death from different perspectives.
The atmosphere of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is undoubtedly magical. The countless stars of the cupola have deeply stirred the imagination of many visitors of Ravenna, for instance, Cole Porter who, during his honeymoon in the city, was so impressed by the starry sky of the small mausoleum that he wrote his famous song Night and Day.
Every day: 9am - 7pm
Admission is allowed until 15 minutes before closing time
The Mausoleum is closed on 25th December
The cumulative ticket includes the entry to Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Neonian Baptistery, Basilica of San Vitale, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia,** and Archiepiscopal Museum and Chapel. The ticket is valid for 7 consecutive days from the date of issue and entitles the holder to one entry for each monument
* Valid for Italian and foreign students during the school year; valid for organizations with special agreements (see details)
** From March 1st to June 15th, an additional charge of 2€ applies to the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. Mandatory booking for groups. The charge applies also to children over 6 and residents of Ravenna.
Children up to 10 years, citizens of Ravenna (with valid document), disabled people with certified disability over 74% or "carta bianca" holders, ecclesiastics, soldiers, tourist guides of Region Emilia-Romagna at work. Journalists must request free admission in advance to the Opera di Religione by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
For groups: 1 free tour leader every 20 paying visitors. For schools: 1 free teacher every 10 paying students
The Mausoleum is wheelchair accessible
The Mausoleum is situated in the controlled traffic zone of the city centre. Bus stop 200m away (Line 1, Piazza Baracca); car park with fee in Piazza Baracca, guarded car park in Largo Giustiniano. Close to Basilica San Vitale and National Museum
Edited by the editorial team
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Last modified date: 06/03/2019