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Official Tourist Information Site
Municipality of Ravenna

Mausoleum of Theodoric

Via delle Industrie, 14 - Ravenna
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Once you leave the historical centre and the railway road behind, in a big public park is one of the most iconic monuments in Ravenna.

It’s the MAUSOLEUM OF THEODORIC, the most important burial monument built by the Ostrogoths in Italy, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ravenna.

The architecture

Built as his own burial place by Theodoric in 520 AD, the mausoleum shows the masterful use of eastern influences and of the Roman traditional building technique, typical of some other mausoleums.

The use of mixed techniques gave life to a monument that became a crossroads between the Roman people and the Gothic “invaders”.

The monument was entirely built with blocks of Aurisina marble stone through a dry laying process. It features a central plan and is divided into two decagonal superimposed orders.

On the top of the mausoleum lies a large monolithic dome of remarkable dimensions, with no equals in all the antique and modern architectural heritage (10.76 m in diameter and 3.09 m in height), crowned by twelve curved handles with the names of eight Apostles and four Eavngelists.

According to recent calculations, it weighs about 290 tons and, still today, scholars have advanced a number of hypotheses concerning the transport of the monolith and the technique employed for its placement.

Someone believes that the handles were specifically built for the monolith’s transportation and positioning, and that it must have been a quite difficult task, as suggested by the big crack on the dome.

According to a legend, a divine lighting split open the mausoleum’s dome, and, hitting Theodoric who was sitting inside, killed him as punishment for his crimes.

The mausoleum’s inner spaces

The lower floor develops in a series of niches inserted in the nine walls, while the tenth one is on the entrance door.

The lower cell, with a cross plan and a cross vault, was probably a chapel, a worship and funerary place for Theodoric and his family.

The upper floor, however, has a central plan with a porphyry basin at its centre. According to tradition, the remains of Theodoric laid in that very basin.

No evidence suggests there was an inner staircase leading to the upper floor; this proves the second theory right, i.e. that since the construction, the mausoleum has always had a burial purpose.

Theodoric’s remains must have been preserved here, but were moved and lost after Justinian’s decree, in 561 AD, when the mausoleum was turned into an oratory and consecrated to the Orthodox worship.

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Eternal rest lies among your own people

Among the Orthodox community of Ravenna, a climate of distrust and tension had grown around Theodoric in the last years of his reign.

So much so that, when he designed his own tomb, which from 526 would become his eternal resting place, he chose for it an area of the city – called Campo Coriandro – that was traditionally reserved for the Goths and already in use as a burial site.

Although austere and solemn, as befitting a royal monument, the building was perfectly recognisable from afar as well as from the sea, given the white colour of the stone used.

It seems evident, especially when compared to the other earth-coloured brick mausoleums in Ravenna, that this mausoleum was designed by Theodoric as tomb among tombs, in a sort of last fraternal embrace of his people, who had found rest in this same part of the city.

Further information

Orario

From Monday to Thursday: 8.30 am – 1.30 pm
From Friday to Sunday: 8.30 am – 7 pm

Last admission: 30 minutes before closing time.

Chiusura

The mausoleum is closed on December 25th and January 1st.

Tariffe

Ticket: €4
Concession: €2 (Concessions apply for young people aged between 18-25).

Every first Sunday of the month admission to the Baptistery is free.
Furthermore, also on June 2nd and July 23rd admission is free.

CUMULATIVE TICKETS
> Mausoleum of Theodoric + Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe + National Museum of Ravenna: €10.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the RavennAntica ticket offices.

Gratuità

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 further concessions for entry.

Accessibilità

Only the lower cell of the Mausoleum is accessible to people with disabilities.

Come Arrivare

The mausoleum is close to the city centre, just behind the railway station.

By bus: bus no. 5 (weekdays) and bus no. 18 (Sunday and holidays). For more informations: www.startromagna.it

By bike: the museum can be easily reached by bike from the railway station or the city centre.

By car: the area of the mausoleum has free parking lots, both in the area in front of the monument and along via Teodorico. For further info on parking areas in the city for cars and tourist buses, see HERE.

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

Last edit:13 June 2022

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