Classe is located several kilometres from Ravenna. It used to be an ancient port, very important for the Roman Empire.
Today, tourists come to Classe to visit this very important church, one of eight early Christian monuments on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites: Basilica di S. Apollinare in Classe. Appollinare is an important saint in this region.
In order to get to Classe, you can take bus #4 from in front of the train station. Bus tickets can be purchased in a small office at the station. The cost of the ticket is 1 euro 30.
According to tradition, coming from Antiochia, Apollinare reached the port of Classe towards the end of the first century and the beginning of the second. He gave his life to the first Christian Community, especially Syriac merchants living in Classe. His evangelization extended through the whole region of Emilia and he was surely the first bishop of the local church. His relics are kept in the high altar in this church.
The church was built in the first half of the 6th century and is one of the greatest examples of Early Christian basilica.
The apse mosaics are very beautiful and important. They were completed towards the middle of the 6th century. The mosaic depicts the Transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor. Christ is represented with the symbol of the cross. His face can be seen in the middle of the cross. Moses and Elias are on the sides of the cross. The three apostles who witnessed the Transfiguration are represented by the three sheeps. Peter is on one side, James and John are together on the other side.
Below the cross, in a vast, green and flowering landscape full of plants is St. Apollinare. He is surrounded by twelve sheep symbolizing the faithful who the shepherd leads to salvation and to the transfigured Christ.
Another amazing mosaic: Abel, Melchisedec and Abraham. One altar – three offerings.
These ancient marble sarcophagi of archbishops are from the 5th and 6th century:
The emperor Augustus:
And now we are back in the old part of Ravenna:
Bicycles are very popular:
This octagonal building is one of the most ancient buildings in Ravenna. It dates back to the early 5th century. It is the Neonian (Orthodox) Baptistery.