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Official Tourist Information Site
Municipality of Ravenna

Domus of the Stone Carpets

Via Gian Battista Barbiani - Ravenna
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The entrance for visitors, in via Gian Battista Barbiani 2, is from the late baroque Chiesa di Sant’Eufemia, where a staircase descends below street level. The Domus of the Stone Carpets, as it was renamed by the critic Federico Zeri during his visit, is one of the most important archaeological sites of the last few decades.

The discovery of the remains of the floor of an important Byzantine residence from the fifth-sixth century A.D. in 1993 was accidental, and led to the temporary halt of the construction of an underground car park for the surrounding buildings. In actual fact, there was more than one discovery: remnants superimposed on top of each other indicated several buildings from the third-second century A.D. to the Middle Ages and three domus from different periods.

Consequently, all the exceptional historical evidence was saved, placing the greatest importance on revealing the rich Byzantine residence, which was the first private residence found in Ravenna, and which is very large and certainly belonged to an important court official.

Built over three different phases, it has 14 rooms and 2 courtyards of over 700 square metres. The joining of two different buildings, originally separated by a Roman road of which you can still see part of the paved ground, is clearly visible.

Raised walkways allow you to walk around the entire perimeter of the site and admire the wonderful floor mosaics, which are actual stone carpets: the central rose decoration and the large vase drawings all around it decorated the large waiting room, connected to the atrium where guests were welcomed and whose floor is decorated with knucklebone patterns.

In the beautiful, marvellously decorated reception hall, the enlargement created with the mosaic extension beyond the frame of the first flooring is noteworthy. In the centre there is one of the most admired decorations ever, the Danza dei Geni delle Stagioni (Dance of the Geniuses of the Seasons), a sort of round dance in which, to the sound of Pan, dance the personifications of Autumn (from behind), Spring (on the left), and Winter covered by a hood and, at its side, we see a hint of Summer, which unfortunately has been lost.

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A mosaic of the Buon Pastore (Good Shepherd) from the fourth century

The room of the Domus of the Stone Carpets, in addition to the Danza delle Stagioni, has another exceptional mosaic panel belonging to a period prior to the Byzantine residence, dating back to the end of the fourth century.

The so-called Buon Pastore mosaic floor was renamed as such immediately after two peacocks were discovered next to a handsome young man leaning on a stick among grazing animals. The two peacocks, which were at the top of the branches of the plants, intimated a sort of halo, or at least a reference to a symbolic hagiography, on the shepherd boy’s head.

Hanging from the branch of the tree are also pan-pipes, a musical instrument that in classical symbology could refer to the story of Orpheus. It is difficult, in fact, to imagine such a religious representation at that time, which was already so standardised, as that of the Buon Pastore.

Further information

Opening times

Every day: 10am – 6.30pm

Entrance fee

Ticket: €4
Concession: €3 groups (min. 15 people) and single visitors (students, ICOM members, accompanying people of people with disabilities, etc.)
School groups: € 3
Guided tour for groups: €40

Audio guide on your smartphone: €1

Combined ticket – Domus + Tamo MuseumRasponi Crypt): €7

Free of charge

Children under 6; journalists; people with disabilities, members Amici di RavennAntica; group chaperons, Romagna Visit Card holders, licensed tourist guides, soldiers, MIC employees (Ministry for Culture).

Accessibility

Accessible to people with disabilities (lift supports up to 190 kg)

How to get there

The Domus is located within a the controlled traffic area of the city centre.

By bus: route no. 1 (stopd in Piazza Baracca)

By bike: the museum is in the city centre of Ravenna and is easy to reach by bike

Car parking area: Piazza Baracca (paid); Largo Giustiniano (secure parking next to the entrance of the domus); Piazza della Resistenza (less than 1 km on foot). HERE you can have further information on the parking areas of the tourist buses.

A cura della Redazione Locale
E-mail: turismo@comune.ravenna.it

Last edit:2 July 2021

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