Ravenna: from Theodoric to Dante
This city, with its ancient past, capital of the Western Roman Empire, capital of the kingdom of the Goths and capital of the Byzantine Empire in Europe offers a wealth of sites of interest to the visitor. During the period of Theodoric many religious buildings were constructed , such as the Baptistry of the Arians, in which we can feel the influence of Hellenistic culture. It represents the only baptistery known to have been created for the cult of the Arians. The mosaics on the cupola with the “Baptism of Christ” is extraordinary.
Here in Ravenna Dante Alighieri lived the final years of his life where he found refuge at the court of Guido Novello da Polenta, ruler of the city, and it was here that the poet died of malaria on the 14th of September 1321. His funeral was held in great pomp in the church of San Francesco, the first sarcophagus containing the remains of the poet was located under one of the side arches.
This church is subject to subsidence, a phenomena which has always affected Ravenna, in fact the crypt is filled with water and it is possible to admire the ancient decorations through the transparency of the water.