Official Tourist Information Site
of Ravenna

National Museum of Ravenna

Via San Vitale, 17 - Ravenna

The spaces of what was once the Benedictine monastery of San Vitale, located next to the well-known basilica of the 6th century, have been hosting since 1885 the NATIONAL MUSEUM OF RAVENNA, with its noteworthy and different collections.

The original nucleus of the museum’s collection dates back to the 18th century, gathered by the learned monks of the big city abbeys, especially the Camaldolese monks of Classe, who used to collect several objects of artistic, ancient and naturalistic interest.

Today, the museum displays important archaeological finds, such as sepulchral slabs, Byzantine sculptures, prestigious objects connected with the UNESCO monuments and wide collections of applied arts.

Thanks to the suggestive atmosphere of the two Renaissance cloisters and of the abbatial spaces, the museum is a keystone of the must-see attractions in Ravenna, further proof of the artistic splendour the city has reached over history.

The rooms of the National Museum

On the ground floor, around the first and oldest cloister (end of the 15th – beginning of the 16th century), there are Roman lapidary relics, mainly epigraphs, bas-reliefs, stelae and sarcophagi dating back between the 1st and 3rd century AD.

Among which stands out the Apotheosis of Augustus and the famous herms of heroes and philosophers of the Ancient Greece that some fishermen found in the sea, near Ravenna.

In the second cloister, on the other hand, there are exhibits of several stony finds; they cover a period of time ranging from the 5th century AD to the Baroque age.

The most worthy of note are the Traditio Legis sarcophagus and the so-called “butterfly” column capitals from Theodoric’s age.

The monumental staircase designed by monk Benedetto Fiandrini in 1790 leads to the first floor.

The artefacts, far distant in time from one another, have all common aim of telling the past splendour of Ravenna.

The National Museum displays a collection of small Renaissance bronzes and plaques, as well as furniture coming from the Moors pharmacy dating back to the 18th century.

You will see some rooms dedicated to the imperial Church of Santa Croce; a selection of research results on the Palatium — the Imperial Palace and court of Theodoric; and the treasures of San Vitale and San Michele di Africisco.

Furthermore, worth a mention are the ivory collections, especially the 5th-century panel depicting Apollo and Daphne, the 6th-century Murano diptych; the Classense Library’s icons collection, including the Crucifixion by Paolo Veneziano; lastly, the ceramics collection that were either purchased or donated.

The visit ends in the large refectory of the former monastery, with the fresco cycle taken from the Church of Santa Chiara (today Luigi Rasi Theatre), by Pietro da Rimini, one of the most important painters of the 14th-century Rimini school.



The 14th-century frescoes by Pietro da Rimini da Santa Chiara

The former refectory of the ancient Benedictine monastery houses a splendid cycle of 14th-century frescoes coming from the ancient Church of Santa Chiara in Ravenna (today Luigi Rasi theatre).

The church was built in 1255, commissioned by Chiara da Polenta for a group of local women, who, according to the Poor Clares of Assisi rule, had chosen to live in prayer, humility and poverty in the area where the old oratory of Santo Stefano in Fundamento raised.

Life in the convent ended abruptly in 1805, with the suppression ordered by Napoleon. Therefore, the church was deconsecrated; later it was acquired by the municipal administration and transformed into what is still today a theatre, named after the actor Luigi Rasi.

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.

The frescoes dedicated to Santa Chiara are the finest example of the artist’s highest expressive maturity, as well as one of his greatest masterpieces, for the originality, the vivacity of the narrative imagination, the consistency of the forms, and the warmth of the colours.

Today, the frescoes are on display at the National Museum of Ravenna, which has recreated the original heights and the dimness, in which they were shrouded for centuries, inside the church.

Further information

Opening times

From Tuesday to Friday: 8.30 am – 7.30 pm
Saturdays: 8.30 am – 2 pm
8.30 am – 2 pm

Every 1st Sunday of the month: 8.30 am – 7.30 pm (free admission)

Sunday 31th March: 8.30 am – 7.30 pm
Monday 1st April special opening: 8.30 am – 7.00 pm

Last admission: 30 minutes before closing time.

Closing time

The museum is closed on Mondays, on 25th December and on 1st January.

Entrance fee

Ticket: € 6
Concession*: € 2
* Valid for persons aged between 18 and 25 years old

Every first Sunday of the month admission to the monument is free.
Furthermore, also on February 7th, April 25th, June 2ndJuly 23rdAugust 30th, October 14th (Notte d’oro), November 4th and December 7th admission is free.

> National Museum + Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe + Mausoleum of Theoderic: €10.

The ticket can be purchased online or at the ticket office of all the museums and sites managed by Fondazione RavennAntica.

Free of charge

The admission to the statal museums, monuments, gatteries and archaeological areas is free for all the minor EU citizens (less than 18 years old).
Furthermore, admission to the statal libraries and archives is free for all the EU citizens (without age limits).

For further concessions visit the website


The museum is accessible to people with physical disabilities.

On the ground floor, the museum hosts a Baby Pit-Stop, a space that is entirely dedicated to all people travelling with chidren, where it is possible to look alook after and breastfeed. It is possible to access the space with the museum tickets in the opening hours of the museum.
How to get there

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

By bus: bus no. 70 (Piazza Baracca). For more information:

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

Last edit:13 March 2024

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