This basilica was originally built in 6th century Byzantine style under the influence of oriental trends of that time in this region.
Ravenna was capital of ostrogoths (eastern Goths under the rule of Theodoric) and the influence from Constantinopole was significant.
Though it's a Christian church, even if Theodoric himself wasn't Catholic, its influence was early Christian and he wanted to pursue his attitude towards early Christianity to his faith; nevertheless, Ravenna should be grateful to this man for the heritage it has now.
San Vitale is an octagonally shaped church that houses renowned coloured religious mosaics.
In summer time on Fridays you can go and see the mosaics of Ravenna by night. It's an unforgettable thing to do. These excursions are organised regulary in summer.
Inside the church the Ravenna festival takes place also - a lovely thing to see..actually..to hear, the accoustics inside are a treat for the ear.