Without question, one of Ravenna’s finest buildings from the reign of King Theodoric was the Palatine Church, of Aryan cult, built at the king’s bidding in 505 AD next to his palace and dedicated to “Christ the Redeemer”. In 540 AD, after the city had fallen into the hands of the Byzantines, Archbishop Agnellus dedicated it to St. Martin of Tours – known as “the Hammer of Heretics” because he fought against the Arians. Later, between the ninth and tenth centuries, it was dedicated to St Apollinaris, with the addition of “Nuovo” (new) in order to differentiate it from the older Sant’Apollinare in Veclo, which stood in the present Via Pietro Alighieri. Next to the church stands a beautiful cylindrical bell tower, one of the many which were built in Ravenna, like the one at San Vitale. The scholar Wanda Frattini Gaddoni wrote that “they are considered the oldest cylindrical bell towers in the West”. The beautiful mosaics that adorn the walls of the central nave date back to two periods: the upper row is from to the time of Theodoric and was influenced by Greek and Roman tastes. During the sixth century, at the time of Emperor Justinian, the mosaics along the lower row were extensively “cleansed” when the church was consecrated to Catholicism: Theodoric images were replaced by scenes of saints and holy martyrs. The façade and the portico are sixteenth-century renovations from when the building passed into the hands of the Franciscan Friars. Between 1600 and 1700, the basilica and friary hosted oratorios and “religious plays”. Then nothing, until 1921 when Sant’Apollinare Nuovo hosted two musical events dedicated to Dante Alighieri, on the 600th anniversary of the poet’s death. On 13 and 14 September, the vocal-symphonic poem “Dantis Poetae Transitus” was staged. This was composed and directed by Licino Refice, one of the greatest reformers of sacred music within the movement sparked by Pope Pius X. Three days later, some of Dante’s canticles were performed, accompanied by Gregorian music and music by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, adapted by Giovanni Tebaldini who also conducted the music and choir. In 1996, the church was listed by UNESCO as one of Italy’s World Heritage Sites.