Basilica of San Vitale detail, Ravenna, Italy. - Stock Image

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The Basilica (Church) of San Vitale in Ravenna, is one of the most important examples of early Christian Byzantine art and architecture in western Europe. The Basilica combines Roman elements (the dome, shape of doorways, and stepped towers) with Byzantine elements (polygonal apse, capitals, and narrow bricks). The church is most famous for its wealth of Byzantine mosaics, the largest and best preserved outside of Constantinople. Ravenna was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until its collapse in 476, Then it served as the capital of the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths until it was conquered in 554. Afterwards, the city formed the centre of the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna until the invasion of the Franks in 751, which appointed it as the seat of the Kingdom of the Lombards. It is one of eight Ravenna structures included by UNESCO in its World Heritage List.
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