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Baptistry of St. John (Battistero di San Giovanni), Pisa

Overview

Baptistry of St. John, with Pisa Cathedral and Leaning Tower of Pisa in the background
Baptistry of St. John, with Pisa Cathedral and Leaning Tower of Pisa in the background

Photo by PROPOLI87 on Wikimedia Commons

Baptistry of St. John
Baptistry of St. John

The Baptistry of St. John is the baptistry of the religious complex from Piazza del Duomo, besides the cathedral - Duomo di Pisa, the bell tower (campanile in Italian) - Torre di Pisa and the cemetery - Camposanto Monumentale (translated in English "The monumental cemetery"). The construction of the baptistry began in 1152 under the leadership of architect Diotisalvi, whose name is inscribed on a pillar inside. It has a round shape, following the pattern of the round of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. It is built on 3 levels, ending with a raised dome. It has a height of 54.86 meters (it is the largest baptistry in Italy) and a circumference of 104 meters. The construction, as for the other two monuments, is in a Roman style and masonry is dominant. The openings - doors and windows - are few. The Baptistry contains architectural ornaments of full masonry, galleries with semicircular arches, pillars and pilasters. At the top, completed in the 13th century by the well-known Italian artists Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, there are decorative elements of the Gothic style: sculptures, broken arches, angular and the agglomeration of decorative elements. Inside the Baptistry, the pulpit is made by the Nicola and Giovanni Pisano family (father and son), between 1255 - 1260, decorated with scenes from the life of Jesus. Also, inside is another valuable object - the baptismal font, made in 1246 by the Italian sculptor Guido Bigarelli da Como, on which the image of Saint John the Baptist can be seen. The interior of the Baptistry is notable for its simple, sober decoration and perfect acoustics, which allows for special effects - you can sing aloud but the echo has the effect of a chorus. The explanation would be that the building material, marble, rejects the sound waves and , as the interior being circular, they interfere.