The city of Ravenna, situated in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, is one of the most prominent cities in the world for art and architecture. It was the capital of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until 476 and later served as a major center for Byzantine art and architecture.
The city is home to some of the earliest and best preserved examples of Christian art and architecture in Europe. Notable monuments include the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, a 5th century tomb built for the daughter of Emperor Theodosius I; the Neonian Baptistery, an octagonal baptistery with exquisite mosaics depicting stories from both the Old and New Testaments; Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, a 6th century basilica with magnificent mosaics; and San Vitale, a 6th century octagonal church with an extraordinary interior featuring intricate Byzantine mosaics.
Ravenna has also been home to some of the greatest artists in history. Giotto di Bondone was born here in 1267; he was one of the most influential artists during what is now known as the Italian Renaissance period. The city has also been home to many other influential artists including Domenico Ghirlandaio, Baldassare Peruzzi, Taddeo Zuccaro, Giorgio Vasari and Agnolo Bronzino.
The city’s importance in the history of art can be attributed to its many contributions to both Christian art and Renaissance painting. Its monuments feature some of Europe’s earliest examples of Christian art while its links to great artists such Giotto meant that it became a major center for Renaissance painting. This combination has made Ravenna an important part of both European Christian history and Italian Renaissance history.
What makes Ravenna so important in terms of its influence on art is its status as both an early center for Christian art and a major center for Renaissance painting. This combination has made Ravenna an integral part of both European Christian history and Italian Renaissance history.