Mausoleum of Galla Placidia - History and Facts | History Hit

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is an early 5th century Christian chapel in Ravenna that was thought to hold the tomb of Roman Empress Galla Placidia.

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About Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is an early 5th century Christian chapel in Ravenna, Italy, that is thought to have been commissioned by Roman Empress Galla Placidia and, until recently, was believed to house her tomb.

History of Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

Galla Placidia was the daughter of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I and a major player in the politics of the Western Roman Empire in the first half of the fifth century AD. She was also one-time regent of the Western Empire.

Known for its stunning early-Byzantine style mosaics, the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is a hidden gem which delights and surprises visitors with its remarkable artistry. The eye-catching mosaics adorn the floors, ceilings, and walls and include the ‘cupola’, a striking mosaic of the night sky. All this in a tiny building which, from the outside, is rather unassuming.

Inside the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia are three tombs which folklore stated contained the remains of Galla Placidia herself, Emperor Constantius III and either Emperor Valentinian III or Emperor Honorius. However, modern historians doubt these claims and they are not generally accepted.

Along with other early Christian sites in Ravenna, the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia today

Visitors today can enjoy the mosaics which UNESCO has described as ‘among the best surviving examples of this form of art in Europe.’ It is open every day from 9am to 7pm, and admission is 9.50 euro.

Getting to Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

From the centre of Ravenna, the mausoleum is reachable in around 8 minutes by car via Via Rocca Brancaleone. A number of public transport options are also available, with the bus stop at Piazza Baracca being a 2 minute walk from the site. By car, it’s 10 minutes via Via Paolo Costa and Via San Vitale.