Ravenna & Aquileia

San Vitale
San Vitale
Inside Pomposa Abbey
Inside Pomposa Abbey
Pomposa Abbey
Pomposa Abbey
Neonian Baptistery
Neonian Baptistery
Church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo
Church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo
Church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo
Church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo
Ravenna Cathedral
Ravenna Cathedral
Ravenna Cathedral
Ravenna Cathedral
Concordia Sagittaria
Concordia Sagittaria
Concordia Sagittaria
Concordia Sagittaria
Cividale del Friuli
Cividale del Friuli
Cividale del Friuli
Cividale del Friuli
Aquileia Archaeological Museum
Aquileia Archaeological Museum
Aquileia Archaeological Museum
Aquileia Archaeological Museum
Grado
Grado

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.

  • Special access to the mausoleum of Galla Placidia
  • Visit the mediaeval monastery at Pomposa, with its 14th century frescoes
  • Marvel at the extraordinary Tempietto Longobardo, a unique Lombard chapel
  • Admire the 4th century mosaic floor of the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta in Aquileia

Themes

  • Romans
  • Medieval
  • Historic Churches

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • All Inclusive

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.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Astoria
Meals: Dinner included

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. Afterwards, we walk along the riverine port, noting the mooring posts which pay homage to the city’s rich trading past, to the 6th century Church of Monastero and museum. We end the day at newly refurbished National Archaeological Museum of Aquileia, which houses some extraordinary mosaics and amber jewels.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Astoria
Meals: All meals included

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 Diocesan Museum, with its Lombard Altar of Ratchis. 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.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Astoria
Meals: All meals included

Day 4

This morning we travel to Ravenna. En-route we stop at the former Roman colony of Concordia Sagittaria, to the site of an important early Christian basilica, which was discovered and laid out below the floor of the present cathedral. We proceed to the Abbey of Pomposa, the monastery where Guido D’Arezzo invented modern musical notation. Here we view a wonderful Cosmati floor and 14th century frescoes, hauntingly painting in the wake of the Black Death.

Hotel: Palazzo Bezzi or Hotel Bisanzio
Meals: All meals included

Day 5

Today we start our exploration of Ravenna with a series of superb monuments, including the Arian Baptistery, the Neonian Baptistery, Ravenna Cathedral, and the Bishop’s Palace with its museum and mosaic decorated private chapel. In the afternoon we visit San Giovanni Evangelista, founded by Galla Placidia.

Hotel: Palazzo Bezzi or Hotel Bisanzio
Meals: All meals included

Day 6

Still in Ravenna, we will also explore the remains of the church of Santa Spirito, which now contains the mosaics from ‘Theoderic’s Palace’ and then on to the Church of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo, Theodoric’s Palatine chapel. In the afternoon a walk across town takes us to the late antique Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra. We end the day at the National Museum, with a vast and eclectic of architectural and archaeological material from Ravenna and its environs. This evening we plan to have our special private visit to San Vitale and the mausoleum of Gallia Placidia.

Hotel: Palazzo Bezzi or Hotel Bisanzio
Meals: All meals included

Day 7

We drive south this morning to Classe. This was the location of the commercial port of Ravenna and a city in its own right. We will pass by the excavated port and visit the church of San Apollinare in Classe with its distinctive belltower. In the afternoon on our way backing the city we will stop to visit Theoderic’s great stone mausoleum.

Hotel: Palazzo Bezzi or Hotel Bisanzio
Meals: All meals included

Day 8

We drive to Bologna airport for our return flights home or onward connections.

Meals: Breakfast included

Itinerary 2020

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.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Astoria
Meals: Dinner included

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. Afterwards, we walk along the riverine port, noting the mooring posts which pay homage to the city’s rich trading past, to the 6th century Church of Monastero and museum. We end the day at newly refurbished National Archaeological Museum of Aquileia, which houses some extraordinary mosaics and amber jewels..

Hotel: Grand Hotel Astoria
Meals: All meals included

Day 3

We head into the foothills of the Alps to the Lombard city of Cividale. Here we visit the Tempietto Longobardo, an exquisite ducal chapel with wonderful stuccowork, before returning to the Diocesan Museum to see the wonderful Lombard Altar of Ratchis. 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.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Astoria
Meals: All meals included

Day 4

This morning we travel to Ravenna. En-route we stop at the former Roman colony of Concordia Sagittaria, to the site of an important early Christian basilica, which was discovered and laid out below the floor of the present cathedral. We proceed to the Abbey of Pomposa, the monastery where Guido D’Arezzo invented modern musical notation. Here we view a wonderful Cosmati floor and 14th century frescoes, hauntingly painting in the wake of the Black Death.

Hotel: Palazzo Bezzi or Hotel Bisanzio
Meals: All meals included

Day 5

Today we start our exploration of Ravenna with a series of superb monuments, including the Arian Baptistery, the Neonian Baptistery, Ravenna Cathedral, and the Achiepiscopal museum, which houses priceless remains, such as the private chapel of Sant’ Andrea, which is covered in mosaics and the 6th century ivory throne of the Archbishop Maximian. After lunch, we visit the Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra, a late antique house with a famous mosaic of the Dance of the Seasons. We end the day with a visit to the National Archaeological Museum of Ravenna, which has important remains from the Roman and Visigothic periods.

Hotel: Palazzo Bezzi or Hotel Bisanzio
Meals: All meals included

Day 6

We continue our exploration of Ravenna with a visit to the so-called remains of the apocryphal ‘Theodoric’s Palace’ and then on to the Church of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo, Theodoric’s Palatine chapel. We proceed with a visit to the Church of San Francesco, the parish church of Dante who is buried next door. Finally, we visit the Cripta Rasponi which houses mosaics taken from the church of San Severo in Classe. This evening we plan to have our special private visit to the Basilica of San Vitale and the mausoleum of Gallia Placidia.

Hotel: Palazzo Bezzi or Hotel Bisanzio
Meals: All meals included

Day 7

We have free time this morning to spend at leisure. After lunch, we drive south to Classe. Here we first visit the commercial port of Roman Ravenna and its museum. We then visit the Byzantine church of San Apollinare in Classe famed for the vibrant mosaics in its apse, depicting the Transfiguration. In the afternoon on our way backing the city we will stop to visit Theodoric’s great stone mausoleum.

Hotel: Palazzo Bezzi or Hotel Bisanzio
Meals: All meals included

Day 8

We drive to Bologna airport for our return flights home or onward connections.

Meals: Breakfast included

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - Most 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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2019 Tour Details

Mon 21st Oct - Mon 28th Oct

Available

Guaranteed Departure

£2,395

inc.

sgl supp: £275

RAV19B

Led By: Professor Tony King

2020 Tour Details

Mon 20th Apr - Mon 27th Apr

Available

£2,495

inc.

sgl supp: £320

RAV20A

Led By: Professor Tony King

Mon 25th May - Mon 1st Jun

Available

£2,495

inc.

sgl supp: £320

RAV20C

Led By: Dr Eireann Marshall

Mon 2nd Nov - Mon 9th Nov

Available

£2,495

inc.

sgl supp: £320

RAV20B

Led By: Oliver Gilkes

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