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Official Tourist Information Site
Municipality of Ravenna

Ravenna National Museum

Via San Vitale, 17 - Ravenna
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As the former Benedictine monastery of the San Vitale architectural complex, the building was rebuilt in 1400 and was enlarged and restored following earthquakes and bombardments. In 1914, at the behest of the sculptor Enrico Pazzi and the instigation of the first Superintendent of the city, Corrado Ricci, it became the site of the NATIONAL MUSEUM OF RAVENNA.

The Museum collects masterpieces donated or found in the major excavation and restoration sites of the city, and therefore constitutes the natural extension of an itinerary of artistic exploration of Ravenna and its splendour in the Byzantine era.

On the ground floor, around the first cloister, there are exhibits of the lapidary, bas-reliefs, stelae and sarcophagi dating back to between the first and third centuries AD, among which stands out the apotheosis of Augustus and the famous herms which fishermen found in the sea. In the second cloister there are exhibits of several stone finds that cover a period of time ranging from the fifth century AD to the Baroque age, of which the most worthy of note are the Traditio Legis sarcophagus and the so-called “butterfly” column capitals from the Theodorician age.

By means of the monumental staircase designed by the monk Benedetto Fiandrini in 1790, we reach the first floor, where we discover artifacts that, even if some are quite distant from each other in time, are all united in recounting the splendour of the city: from the collection of small Renaissance bronzes and plaques to the eighteenth century furniture from the Moors pharmacy, from the rooms dedicated to the imperial Chiesa di Santa Croce to the selection of research on the Palatium, the Imperial Palace which was also the court of Theodoric, up to the treasures of San Vitale and San Michele di Africisco.

The Avori collections are remarkable, most notably the fifth century panel depicting Apollo and Daphne and the Murano diptych from the sixth century. There are also icons in the Classense collection, among which the Crucifixion by Paolo Veneziano is worthy of note. Finally, the ceramics collection, many of which were either purchased or donated.

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Fourteenth-century frescoes by Pietro da Rimini da Santa Chiara

The former refectory of the ancient Benedictine monastery also houses a marvellous cycle of fourteenth-century frescoes from the ancient Chiesa di Santa Chiara, commissioned in 1255 by Chiara da Polenta for a group of women from Ravenna who, according to the Poor Clares of Assisi rule, had chosen to live in prayer, humility and poverty around the old Santo Stefano in Fundamento oratory, on the outskirts of the city.

The existence of the convent ended abruptly in 1805 with the suppression ordered by Napoleon, and the church was deconsecrated and then acquired by the municipal administration and transformed into the present theatre named after the actor Luigi Rasi.

From inside the medieval church, however, the frescoes in the presbytery were fortunately removed and saved. The frescoes were attributed to Giotto, according to the “Amico di Dante” tradition, in turn a guest of Guido Novello.

The cycle of frescoes, which tell, as a Redemption “instrument”, the story of Salvation and the exaltation of the Cross, was created by the highly prolific artist Pietro da Rimini. These Santa Chiara frescoes are the result of his expressive maturity and are one of his masterpieces for the originality of its meaning, the vivacity of the narrative imagination, the consistency of the forms, and the warm colours.

Today the frescoes in the presbytery and the sides of the vault, which include, of course, St. Francis and St. Clare among the “champions” of the Roman Church, have been relocated in this museum space to recapture the heights and the penumbra in which they were shrouded for centuries, inside the church.

Further information

Opening times

From Tuesday to Friday: 2pm – 7.30pm
Saturday: 8.30am – 2pm
First and third Sunday of the month: 8.30am – 2pm

Special Openings
Thursday, 23 September: 6pm – 10.30pm
Saturday, 25 September: 8pm – 11pm (late opening)
Sunday, 26 September: 8.30am – 7.30pm
Friday, 22 October: 7.30pm – 11.30pm (late opening)

Last admission: 30 minutes before closing time

Due to the health emergency, in order to maintain social distancing, the number of visitors is limited.

For further information see musei.emiliaromagna.beniculturali.it

COVID-19: INFORMATION FOR VISITORS

Access to the monument is allowed only on presenting the EU Digital COVID Certificate (Green Pass) or an equivalent certificate issued by the health authorities (or negative test result performed in the last 48 hours), compulsory for everyone over the age of 12.
For further information, see: Covid-19 updates: information for tourists

Closing time

Closed on Mondays

Entrance fee

Ticket: €6
Concession*: €2
* Concessions apply for young people aged between 18-25

Combined ticket
> Basilica of  Sant’Apollinare in Classe + Ravenna National Museum + Mausoleum of Theodoric: €10

The ticket can be purchased online or at the ticket offices of the museums managed by Fondazione RavennAntica.

Free of charge

Admission to the Italian State museums, monuments, galleries and archaeological areas is free for EU citizens aged less than 18 years old. In addition, admission to Italian state archives and libraries is free for all citizens (regardless of age).

Discover all the available concessions: https://cultura.gov.it/agevolazioni

Accessibility

Fully accessible for disabled people

How to get there

The Museum is in the city centre, within a controlled traffic zone (ZTL).

By bus: bus no. 70 (Piazza Baracca)

By bike: the museum is in a very central position and can easily be reached by bike

By car: parking lots are not far away from the museum, in Piazza Baracca (paid) or Largo Giustiniano (secure parking annexed to the museum’s entrance). For further information on car or bus parking areas, see HERE

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

Last edit:15 September 2021

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