The Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe is located about 6 kilometers from the center of Ravenna and is dedicated to Sant’Apollinare, the first bishop of the city.
It was built during the first half of the sixth century on the area where in ancient times there was a cemetery where Sant’Apollinare was buried.
The Basilica was consecrated in 547 by Maximimiamo, the first Archbishop of Ravenna.
Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe has been defined as the greatest example of an early Christian Basilica, and consists of three naves with a raised median body.
The walls of the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare are without decorations, but the apse area is covered with mosaics dating back to the sixth century.
The decoration is divided into two different zones: upper and lower.
At the center of the first there is a large disk with a starry sky inside, in which stands a jeweled cross in the foreground. Under this disc there is the representation of Christ, and on its sides, there are numerous other figures such as Elijah and Moses, and animals symbolizing the Evangelists and Apostles. In the second the protagonist of the scene is Saint Apollinaris in prayer. In the sides of the arches there are two palm trees, symbols of the righteous, and below there are the Archangels Michael and Gabriel with the busts of two saints including St. Matthew.
Inside the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare there are also several sarcophagi dating back to the fifth and eighth centuries but, the most richly decorated is that of the “twelve apostles” as it presents twelve male figures at the center of which stands the figure of Christ the Redeemer with the halo with the Constantinian monogram.