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Official Tourist Information Site
Municipality of Ravenna

Basilica Spirito Santo

Piazzetta degli Ariani, 1 - Ravenna
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Overlooking a beautiful piazza in the historical centre of Ravenna, the BASILICA SPIRITO SANTO is one of the most ancient buildings of the city.

Built in the first years of Theodoric’s reign and intended to be an Arian cathedral, at the beginning of the 6th century AD the church was consecrated by the title of Hagia Anastasis (Saint Resurrection) proving to be one of the most important places of worship of the time, along with the nearby Arian Baptistery.

After the conquest of Ravenna by the Byzantines, under Bishop Agnello the church was converted to the Catholic religion around the half of the 6th century. The church was dedicated to San Teodoro, Greek soldier and martyr from Amasea nel Ponto.

According to a 15th-century popular belief, this is the place where the bishops were miraculously chosen by the holy spirit – the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove came down upon the head of the man chosen as successor to Bishop Apollinaris. The miracle occurred eleven times, reflected in the name of the basilica.

The building, along with the nearby convent, also belonged to Theatine clerics from 1607 to 1797, when they were sent away.

Architecture and decoration

Despite the fact that the facade is partly hidden behind an elegant 26th-century portico, and that the inside of the church underwent several changes, the aspect of today’s church is not very different from the original one.

The former structure should have appeard higher than today’s one. During the 16th century, the floor was raised by about 2 metres to counteract the phenomenon of subsidence.

The basilica is divided into a nave and two side aisles, separated by fourteen columns topped by capitals and pulvinos. It also features an apse, polygonal on the exterior, and arched windows.

The ancient mosaics originally decorating the apse have been completely destroyed.

Severely damaged during World War II, the church was renovated many times during the 20th century. Today, it is entrusted by a community of Orthodox monks.

CONTACTS

  • +39 0544 219938

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An ambon dating back to the 6th century

Inside the ancient Arian cathedral in Ravenna, dedicated today to the Holy Spirit, there is a stunning marble ambon dating back to Theodoric’s age (6th century AD) decorated on both sides.

On each one of them it is possible to admire two crosses on a globe, while in the curved central part there are small fluted columns creating three aedicules provided with shell and tympanum.

Today’s pedestal with inscriptions was added in the modern age.

Further information

Opening times

The church is entrusted to a community of Orthodox monks who only open it for religious services on Sundays, from 10 am to 12 pm.

Accessibility

The basilica is accessible to all people with physical disabilities.

How to get there

The basilica is located in the historical centre of Ravenna, next to the Arian Baptistery and not far from the railway station.

On foot / by bike: the church is located in a Limited Traffic Zone. You can only reach the church on foot or by bike.

By bus: a bus stop is located 100 metres away. For more information: www.startromagna.it

By car: various paid parking areas nearby. For more information click HERE.

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

Last edit:22 March 2022

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