Ravenna & Aquileia

Basilica di San Vitale
Basilica di San Vitale
Abbey of Pomposa
Abbey of Pomposa
Gold-in-glass mosaic of Christ in the Church of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna - a Byzantine technique of the 6th century AD
Gold-in-glass mosaic of Christ in the Church of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna - a Byzantine technique of the 6th century AD
The Church of San Apollinare at Classe with its nave of veined grey light, marble columns and the lovely green of its apse mosaics
The Church of San Apollinare at Classe with its nave of veined grey light, marble columns and the lovely green of its apse mosaics
Entering the Cathedral at Aquileia we see one of the largest mosaics ever laid in the west
Entering the Cathedral at Aquileia we see one of the largest mosaics ever laid in the west
Mosaic showing the Empress Theodora with her retinue; details reveal the heavy brocade and fringed curtains
Mosaic showing the Empress Theodora with her retinue; details reveal the heavy brocade and fringed curtains
The Church of San Vitale
The Church of San Vitale

In AD 402 the Roman Imperial court fled from Rome to Ravenna, and for a period this was the political centre of what remained of the Western Empire. The result? An astonishing flowering of art and architecture created in the dying days of the Empire. To this day, the city’s numerous churches and palaces remain resplendent
with shimmering mosaics.

We begin in Aquileia, a great city of the Roman Empire, which played host to emperors and archbishops. We continue to Ravenna, one of the must-see archaeological cities, where we marvel at the artistry and explore the stories behind the glittering tiles.

  • Admire some of the finest late-Roman mosaics
  • Out-of-hours access to the Church of San Vitale
  • Tour captivating regional archaeological museums
  • Recount the glorious final days of the Roman Empire
  • Enjoy regional food in the seaside town of Grado

Themes

  • Romans
  • Medieval
  • Historic Churches

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2018

Day 1

We arrive in Venice and transfer to our hotel in Grado.

Day 2

We travel to Aquileia. Founded by the Romans in 180BC on marshy ground between the mountains and the lagoons, the city lay on an important route between eastern and western Empires, and thrived in the late Roman period. We explore the Cathedral, and the Christian and earlier mosaics under its campanile. We also walk along the port to the 6th century Church of Monastero and museum; and end the day at Aquileia’s National Archaeological Museum.

Day 3

We head into the foothills of the Alps to the first Lombard city of Cividale. We visit the Tempietto Longobardo, an exquisite ducal chapel with wonderful stuccowork. We visit Grado’s Archaeological Museum, which displays splendid finds such as armour, jewellery and glass from Lombard graves. After lunch, we explore Grado, a historic walled town with lagoon scenery. We stop at the 6th century cathedral, and the Churches of S Eufemia and S Maria delle Grazie.

Day 4

This morning we drive to Ravenna. En-route we stop at Concordia Sagittaria, founded as a Roman colony in 42BC and the site of an important early Christian basilica discovered and laid out below the floor of the present cathedral. We also visit the Abbey of Pomposa, founded in the 7th century. It has a fine 12th century mosaic floor and frescoes.

Day 5

Our first full day in Ravenna. We visit San Vitale, with the Mausoleum of Galla Placida, its tiny form smothered with rich and evocative mosaics. This great church is famed for its dazzling mosaics, especially the panels depicting rulers Justinian and Theodora. On to Theoderic’s Palace - built over the old site of the Imperial and Royal palace. We also explore the Church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, built as the Royal Church by King Theoderic, and San Giovanni Evangelista – built by the Empress Galla Placidia.

Day 6

The second of our two full days in Ravenna with its remarkable collection of churches and other monuments. Today we see the Arian Baptistery; the Neonian Baptistery; Ravenna Cathedral; the Bishop’s Palace, now a museum, with internationally important early Christian artefacts; and the Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra, a richly decorated Roman house. We end the day at the National Museum, with time for you to explore the cornucopia of finds at your own pace.

We have arranged a special evening visit to the Church of San Vitale to permit you to look at the mosaics in tranquillity.

Day 7

Free time in the morning to spend at your leisure. This afternoon, we view the Church of San Francesco and Dante’s Tomb before leaving Ravenna to visit Classe, where we see the Church of Sant’Apollinare. Here there are more glorious mosaics. We return to Ravenna and visit the Mausoleum of King Theoderic.

Day 8

We transfer to Bologna for our afternoon flights home or onward connections.

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

We depart from London, and upon arrival in Venice, we transfer to our hotel in Grado. We have time to relax before enjoying our first group dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2

We travel to Aquileia. Founded by the Romans in 180BC on marshy ground between the mountains and the lagoons, the city lay on an important route between eastern and western Empires, and thrived in the late Roman period. We explore the Cathedral, and the Christian and earlier mosaics under its campanile. We also walk along the port to the 6th century Church of Monastero and museum; and end the day at Aquileia’s National Archaeological Museum.

Day 3

We head into the foothills of the Alps to the first Lombard city of Cividale. Here we visit the Tempietto Longobardo, an exquisite ducal chapel with wonderful stuccowork, before returning to the Christian Museum. After lunch, we explore the Cividale Archaeological Museum, which displays splendid finds such as armour, jewellery and glass from Lombard graves. Later we return to Grado and visit the 6th century cathedral and the churches of S. Eufemia and S. Maria delle Grazie. Tonight we have our final dinner in Grado.

Day 4

This morning we drive to Ravenna. En-route we stop at Concordia Sagittaria, founded as a Roman colony in 42BC and the site of an important early Christian basilica discovered and laid out below the floor of the present cathedral. We also visit the Abbey of Pomposa, founded in the 7th century. It has a fine 12th century mosaic floor and frescoes.

Day 5

Today we see Ravenna’s Arian Baptistery, the Neonian Baptistery, Ravenna Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace and the Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra, a richly decorated Roman house. We end the day at the National Museum, with time for you to explore the cornucopia of finds at your own pace.

Day 6

This morning we visit San Vitale, with the Mausoleum of Galla Placida. Its tiny form is smothered with rich and evocative mosaics, including the panels depicting rulers Justinian and Theodora. We will also explore Theoderic’s Palace, the Church of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo, built as the Royal Church by King Theodoric and San Giovanni Evangelista.

Day 7

We have free time this morning to spend at leisure. Later, we view the Church of San Francesco and Dante’s Tomb before leaving Ravenna to visit Classe, where we see the church of San’t Apollinare. Here we discover more glorious mosaics. We return to Ravenna and visit the Mausoleum of King Theoderic.

Day 8

We drive to Bologna this morning and transfer to the airport for our return flights home or onward connections.

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels
  8. Flights

Travel Information

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2018 Tour Details

Mon 22nd October - Mon 29th October

Call for Availability

£2,495

inc.

sgl supp: £265

RAV18A

Led By: Professor Tony King

2019 Tour Details

Mon 18th March - Mon 25th March

Available

£2,395

inc.

sgl supp: £275

RAV19A

Led By: Oliver Gilkes

Mon 21st October - Mon 28th October

Available

£2,395

inc.

sgl supp: £275

RAV19B

Led By: Professor Tony King

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