The CHURCH OF SAN DOMENICO is one of the most imposing buildings in Ravenna. As its name itself recalls, the church is consecrated to Domenico di Guzmán, Spanish founder of the Dominican Order of Preachers.
From the Middle Ages to today
Built in the 13th century (1269) together with the convent of the Dominicans, the building enlarged a former early-medieval church located near the Padenna canal, a long watercourse connected to the Po river (coinciding with today’s Via Cavour).
The appealing brick-built facade reached the actual size in 1374 but remained unfinished. In the facade, it is still possible to see pointed arches on the sides of the door (three on each side), which were used as burial places.
During the 18th century, the building was completely renewed on a design of architect Gianbattista Contini. Changes were carried out both on the interior and the exterior of the structure, that remained the house of the Dominican Hermits until 1797, when it became a parish church until 1963.
Even if it is still consecrated, the church is not used for worship anymore. It is sometimes used as an exhibition hall, but for most of the time is closed awaiting restoration works.
The Church of San Domenico features a single nave with six chapels (three on each side) and a seventh one on the left of the apse.
Fragments of medieval fresco-paintings are preserved in the sacristy and in the bell tower chapel. The church also hosts Late Renaissance and neoclassical works by major painters from Ravenna, such as Camillo Morigia, Andrea Barbiani, Luca Longhi and Nicolò Rondinelli.