Check Availability
book online

Basilica of San Vitale: how to bind the Old Testament with the New

Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna Italy: how to bind the Old Testament with the New. Hotel near Basilica of San Vitale.



Photo: 1)Basilica outside, 2)Basilica outside, 3)Basilica outside, 4)the apse, 5)the mosaic of Abraham and the Isacco's sacrifice
6)the mosaic of the Evangelist Marco, 7)the mosaic of the empress Teodora with her court, 8)the mosaic of the emperor Giustiniano with him court, 9)the mosaic of Moses on the Sinai, 10)the mosaic of the vault, 11)the wise Men on the Teodora's dress


The Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna is the Gateway to the Middle Ages.


It took two hundred years of heated study and debate for Christian art to answer the first question: how can the Old and the New Testaments tie after having witnessed the life of Jesus?

How can it be sustained that the Ancient testament not only precedes, but also anticipates, and even proposes the New Testament?

Two hundred years of
attempts throughout the Mediterranean, with symbolic insights, sometimes genial, with pictorial results at times elevated, at times mediocre.

Three wondrous compositions are treasured in Ravenna, the richest of which are the presbytery and chancel in San Vitale – valued as pictorial masterpieces and the main points of reference as regards medieval art that follows.

This was, in fact, the new aspiration of Christian art following consternation for the siege of Rome that took place in 410 by Alaricus: the unity of Sacred History since the beginning of the world and the representation of this history in two subsequent periods, corresponding to the Old and the New Testaments.

The final answer came to the Basilica of San Vitale
: mosaic artists by this time had discovered the possibility of prefiguring the Old Testament.

Now was the time, in the reunited Roman-Byzantine empire, to propose a single general theme in liturgy and illustrations: the overwhelming truth of the friendship of God, as from the time of Moses, to whom the law was passed on through prophets, up to the crucial moment of Redemption (the Lamb and the evangelists at the top of the vault).

The counterparty was composed of the devotion of man with his offers made to God in the Old Testament (Abel, Melchizadek, Abraham) and in the new Testament (the wise Men and the imperial couple).

Lastly, in the apse, Christ is seen in all his majesty on his throne in heaven until the end of time.

Through his masterpiece, San Vitale leads the way once and for all into the
Middle Ages.


Prof. Gianni Morelli



The pleasure of fine accommodation in the centre of Ravenna: we recommend the Fabbri hotels for a pleasant stay as follows:

The Centrale Byron hotel, 3-star hotel in the centre of Ravenna, close to Basilica of San Vitale;

The Bisanzio, 4-star hotel in the centre of Ravenna, close to Basilica of San Vitale;

Once you have reached the hotel and parked your car, forget it and walk everywhere, because everything is within walking distance.

The railway station is near our hotels and within walking distance.

© reserved copyright


Discover Ravenna

Discover the monuments, cultural and interesting places to visiti during your stay in Ravenna

News & Events

theater, concerts, exhibitions and much more

How to find us

Our Clients can reach our Hotels, in the center of Ravenna, by car, just in front of the hotel.