The Neonian Baptistery is one of the most ancient monuments of the city of Ravenna. It was commissioned by Bishop Urso and probably built at the beginning of the 5th century like the nearby cathedral. During the episcopacy of Neon (450 - 475), the baptistery underwent many restoration works that ended with the reconstruction of the cupola and the realization of the interior decoration, still present today.
The brick building is octagonal in shape and has four big external niches. On every side, rounded windows and underground doors can be seen from the inside of the church.
The interior of the baptistery consists of two rows of arches put one above the other. Its decoration is divided into three tiers, the lower one covered with marble pieces, the middle one with stucco-works, while the upper section is adorned with mosaics of Hellenic-Roman influence. At the centre of the dome, a big medallion frames the Baptism of Christ, depicted as a young man immersed to the hips in the sheer waters of the river Jordan. This is one of the oldest mosaic scenes of the Baptism of Christ housed inside a monumental building. The images of the twelve Apostles, divided into two groups led by Saint Peter and Paul, revolve around the central medallion, standing out against a blue background. A second ring shows eight exedrae that cover thrones and altars and symbolize the concept of heavenly city and the spread of the Christian doctrine.
In the middle of the building, an octagonal font of Greek marble and porphyry rebuilt in the 16th century still preserves some of its original elements from the 5th century.
In the early 20th century, Carl Gustav Jung, one of the founders of psychoanalysis, was particularly impressed by the magic of these decorations.
Until 28th February
Every day: 10am - 5pm
From 1st March
Every day: 9am - 7pm
Last admission 15 minutes before closing time
The Baptistery is closed on 25th December and 1st January
Reduced ticket: 8.50€*
The combined 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 Baptistery is wheelchair accessible
The Baptistery is situated in the controlled traffic zone of the city centre. Bus stop 200m away (all routes), car park 50m away. Close to the Cathedral, Archiepiscopal Museum and Archiepiscopal Chapel
Edited by the editorial team
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Last modified date: 03/01/2019