At the bottom of the 6th-century apse mosaic is the namesake of the basilica labeled with the inscription SANCTVS APOLENARIS. He is shown in prayer, interceding on behalf of his flock who are represented below by lambs. This is the first known example of choosing a subject other than Christ in Majesty for the apse decoration. Around the saint is a soft green backdrop populated with rocks, birds, and plants. Among the greenery are pine trees, which can still be seen growing outside the church.