I‘ve already written about the amazing San Vitale Basilica in Ravenna, Italy. But another UNESCO Heritage site lies just across the lawn from that basilica – the Mausoleum of Galla Placida.
This mausoleum was commissioned in 426 AD, by Empress Galla Placidia. Galla Placidia was the daughter of Emperor Theodosius I (379-395) and sister to Honorius and Arcadius, who would later go on to become Western and Eastern Emperors.
Nevertheless, it would not be used for its original purpose, since she died in the year 450 in Rome, where she was buried.
Thankfully for all of us, this masterpiece was created. This small building was constructed in the form of the Latin cross. It was envisioned as much taller than what we see today – what was ground level at the time is now 1.5 meters underground. Visitors now walk down steps to reach the mausoleum.
Once a visitors enters into the mausoleum and looks around, he or she will be blinded by the beauty of the mosaics – and the star-studded ceiling of this mausoleum.
Mosaics cover every inch of the walls, arches, lunettes and the cupola.
Typical of the Byzantine art of the time is the triumph of eternal life over death, depicted masterfully by these mosaics.
I can’t say enough good things about visiting Ravenna and admiring this artistic treasure trove. You can purchase your ticket for entrances into the series of Byzantine churches – each one guaranteed to amaze with its artistry.
Hope you’ll be as dazzled as I was by the stars of Ravenna’s Galla Placidia Mausoleum.