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Photo of Rasponi Crypt and gardens in Ravenna

Visit Rasponi Crypt and gardens in Ravenna

The Rasponi crypt is a historic monument with a garden to explore, close to Dante's tomb in the heart of Ravenna, in north-east Italy. The entrance is on the Piazza San Francesco, beneath the arches on the south side and next to Ravenna tourist office.

The gardens and crypt are now part of the Palace of the Province of Ravenna, after the original Rasponi Palace, built in the 17th century and used as a hotel in the last part of the 19th century, was destroyed by fire in the 1920s.

Discover the Rasponi Crypt and gardens

Italy This Way review: although it is not a major attraction, if you have some time to spare and you are in the centre of Ravenna a visit to the Rasponi crypt and garden is an interesting choice

Inside the Rasponi crypt

The crypt is accessed through the base of the tower in the centre of the garden: the tower was built around 1922 in the style called neo-gothic, although the crypt is older - it dates from the 18th century. Although it is called a crypt, it was never used as a crypt by the Rasponi family: in fact, it was used as a chapel.

You first pass through a large and imposing access room, built in red brick and overlooked by a balcony. This room gives access to the two other rooms: the presbytery and the Rasponi crypt. There is a large stone ball in this room, with the inscription "sic vita pendet ab alto"

I can't find a useful translation for this phrase, it is literally translated as "so life hangs from high".

The crypt is a red brick structure, with a dome roof and arches around the edges.

Although they are rather worn out in places, a large part of the floor of the crypt is covered with a mosaic from the 6th century, at which time it was in the Church of San Severo in Classe. The mosaic is mostly decorated with flowers and plants, but you can also see various animals such as snakes and birds.

 
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The gardens of the courtyard and on the roof are as much a part of your visit as the crypt.

The main garden fills a large courtyard, with a fountain in the centre surrounded by numerous plants and some small areas of grass. Although the variety of plants is perhps rather limited, this is compensated for by the picturesque setting, surrounded by the palace and other buildings.

From the roof garden, accessed by a staircase in one corner of the courtyard, you have an attractive view across the courtyard in one direction, and the square in front of the Church of San Francesco in the other direction. This part of the roof terrace was originally a passage allowing access to the stables from the Rasponi Palace.

Gardens of the Rasponi palace

Entrance to Rasponi crypt and gardens costs around two euros.

Attractions nearby

The Rasponi crypt is one of the less important attractions in Ravenna, and in the city you will also discover several basilicas and chapels which have retained their impressive mosaics from the 6th century, as well as the tomb of Dante: see the Ravenna guide.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Emilia-Romagna guide.

See also: 

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Map of Rasponi Crypt and gardens in Ravenna and places to visit

 
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Rasponi Crypt and gardens in Ravenna places to visit

Basilica of San Francesco in Ravenna

Basilica of San Francesco in Ravenna

The Basilica of San Francesco in Ravenna is a 10th century church where the funeral of Dante took place

Basilica of San Francesco in Ravenna guide
Dante's Tomb in Ravenna

Dante's Tomb in Ravenna

The Tomb of Dznte is the final resting place of the great 13th century poet, Dante Alighieri

Dante's Tomb in Ravenna guide
Ravenna

Ravenna

Ravenna is world famous because of the exceptional mosaics and several 6th century churches in the city

Ravenna guide
Archbishop's Chapel in Ravenna

Archbishop's Chapel in Ravenna

The Archbishop's Chapel in Ravenna is a tiny 6th century chapel decorated with byzantine mosaics

Archbishop's Chapel in Ravenna guide
Ravenna Baptistery of Neon

Ravenna Baptistery of Neon

Ravenna Baptistery of Neon is one of the most ancient Christian baptisteries, built in the 5th century and decorated with mosaics

Ravenna Baptistery of Neon guide
Ravenna Arian Baptistery

Ravenna Arian Baptistery

The Arian baptistery in Ravenna was built in the 5th century and retains its original mosaic ceiling in the dome

Ravenna Arian Baptistery guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Emilia-Romagna

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