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Mausoleo di Teodorico


The Mausoleum of Theodoric is the most famous funerary complex of Late Antiquity enlisted by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The monument was built by Theodoric’s will as his own tomb around 520 AD. This admirable building testifies to the commitment made by the Goth king in maintaining a balance, both political and religious, between the Romans and the "invading" Goths. This is made visible by the superb and peculiar composition, in which the Roman architectural tradition and the western influences combine, making this imposing monument unique.

The Mausoleum has a decagonal structure that develops on two levels surmounted by a large monolithic dome. The wall structure, made of opus quadratum and carved in Aurisina stone, reveals the assembly in dry stone technique: the rows of square blocks are simply superimposed and stopped inside by dovetail cast iron braces. The lower floor is marked by a series of niches on the nine sides, while the entrance door is in the tenth face, onward west. The external profile of the upper floor is set back, creating an open walkway of 1.30 m along the entire perimeter. Almost at the connection with the dome, the profile becomes circular by means of a sturdy band, settled immediately above the lintel of the entrance door. Just above the band runs a frame with "pincer" decoration, a motif already traceable in the Ostrogoth goldsmithery and also found in the so-called "armour of Theodoric", found in the area of ??the Goth necropolis not far from the mausoleum.

The extraordinary coverage has no equal in the ancient and modern architectural heritage.

It is a single block of over 290 tons in the shape of a lowered dome, crowned by twelve handles, on which the names of eight Apostles and the four Evangelists are inscribed. These loops were certainly functional during the operations of extraction, transport, lifting and positioning of the monolith. On the dome there is a large crack that may have originated during the difficult installation works.

According to popular legend, the dome was instead torn open by a divine lightning which, falling on Theodoric sheltered inside, killed him as punishment for his crimes. The large monolithic dome, which recalls the celestial vault, serves as material and symbolic protection for the tomb of the great king.

It is probable that the lower cell was intended as a place of worship or a tomb for members of Theodoric's family. Internally the cell has a Greek cross plan and a cross-vaulted roof that unloads on four bondstones, two of which have been decorated with the Christian symbol of the shell with the muscle facing downwards, the other two blocks appear in a still state rough and semi-rough.

The upper cell has a central plan: the porphyry basin in centre - a "labrum" - according to tradition was used as a sarcophagus for the body of Theodoric. No trace of an access staircase to the upper floor has ever been found: allegedly the cell would have had an exclusively funeral destination since the construction of the monument. In the Mausoleum, neither the remains of the family nor that of Theodoric were found; the latter was in fact ousted in 540 AD, when Ravenna was reconquered by the Byzantines.

Today the Mausoleum is enclosed in a large park, creating a "power" perspective embracing and emphasizing this extraordinary monument, a one-of-a-kind architecture that testifies to the personality of King Theodoric, who was anything but barbaric, but cultured and skilled military leader and bearer of peace.


via delle Industrie, 14
48122 Ravenna


Monday - Sunday summer (until Sunday November 4th): 8.30 am-7.00 pm; winter (from Monday November 5th 2018): 8.30 am-4.30 pm

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Ph: +39 0544 456701
Full: 4,00 €
Reduced: 2,00 €