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PISA

PIAZZA DEI MIRACOLI

THE BAPTISTERY

The impressing Pisan- Romanesque Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistery of San Giovanni) stands to the west of the Duomo, on the same axis.

It was for the most part designed by Magister Diotisalvi, a well-known Tuscan architect of the age, who started its construction in 1152 – around 100 years later than the Duomo - as it is marked on the pillars bordering the entrance door.
Diotisalvi conceived a huge religious building in white marble with an annular plan in commemoration to the “Rotunda of the Anastasis”, the massive mausoleum erected over the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. 
He conducted the work from 1152 to 1180 ca, until the top of the arches set in the first level of the façade was concluded and until the columns and pillars standing in the indoors were terminated.
In 1260 the celebrated Italian sculptor Nicola Pisano (active in Tuscany from 1258 to 1278) proceeded to conduct the work in the Baptistery, which had been interrupted during decades. He augmented the height of the Baptistery with a system of two domes. The upper one is shaped like a small cut cone on the summit of the main and huge circular dome. Nicola was followed by his son Giovanni (Pisa, 1250 ca - Pisa, 1315 ca) who supervised the work from 1285 to 1293.
The construction kept on without interruptions for two centuries, so it was constructed in two main different styles. The blind arcades standing in the lower level are in Pisan Romanesque style, while the short upper galleries are in Gothic style.
The Baptistery of San Giovanni in Pisa, which building and internal ornamentation, concluded in the 14th century, is believed to be the biggest building of its sort in the Christendom. It has more than 107 meters of circumference, while the dome is 75 meters tall.

The interior of the Baptistery have a length of 55 meters with a diameter of 35.50 meters.
Its immensity is more evident in the inside than in the outside due to the complete and direct view of the proportions. The magnificence of the extensive circular nave is carefully lighted by abundant and precious stained glass Romanesque and Gothic windows set all around the walls of the circular building.

The magnificent dome is supported on eight columns and four pillars with wonderful carved capitals, which generates an impressing effect of luminosity and solemnity.
In the centre stands the refined octagonal white marble baptismal font carved by the prestigious Lombard Gothic sculptor Guido Bigarelli da Como (active from 1238 ca. to 1257). The eight faces of the font are richly ornamented by central rose-windows and by geometrical marble drawings. In the centre of the font rises the wonderful bronze sculpture of St. John the Baptist created in 1929 by the eminent Italian sculptor Italo Griselli (1880-1950).

Nearby the font rises the outstanding innovative white marble pulpit, which Nicola Pisano began to sculpt in 1260. The great pulpit is supported by a central column on a pedestal with grotesque images and animals from ancient pagan religions and by six external columns. Three of them are set on the back of lions which are adorned which Romanesque designs symbolizing the triumphant Christianity. The columns are topped by Gothic precious engraved capitals.
On the arches which outlined the pulpit there are precious carved panels representing the prophets, the Evangelists, St. John the Baptists and the virtues. Furthermore, Nicola Pisano carved on the pulpit a long series of sublime scenes depicting the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which began with the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin and ends with Jesus Passion and the Last Judgement.

The Battistero di San Giovanni opens daily.
From November to February: 10am - 4:30pm;
On March and October: 9am – 5:30pm;
From April to September: 8am - 7:30pm.
The admission ticket is 5 euros.

Visit also in Details:

Piazza dei Miracoli -Piazza dei Cavalieri -Pisa Baptistery - The leaning Tower - Pisa


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