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  • Day24

    Battistero di San Giovanni, Pisa

    September 22, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Next to the cathedral is the Battistero di San Giovanni, Baptistery of St. John, an amazingly detailed building. It became the second building, in chronological order, in the Piazza dei Miracoli, with construction starting in 1152, to replace an older baptistery, and completion in 1363. It is the largest baptistery in Italy at 54.86m high and a diameter of 34.13m. Built on the same unstable sand as the tower and the cathedral, the Baptistery leans 0.6 degrees towards the cathedral.

    Constructed of marble, the style of architecture transitions from the Romanesque style to the Gothic style with the bottom half being built in the Romanesque style and the upper section in the Gothic style with its pointed arches. The detail in the upper arches is so ornate and the comparison to the bottom simpler style is what makes this such a beautiful building to admire.

    The most unique thing about the exterior is the dome roof with one half clad with lead sheets on its east side and the west side clad with red tiles. It is the Baptistery’s exterior dome roof and interior pyramidal roof that has resulted in making the interior acoustically perfect, a resonating chamber.

    The interior is extremely surprising due to its lack of decoration. It contains an octagonal font at the centre that dates from 1246, and a bronze sculpture of St. John the Baptist at the centre of the font. The pulpit was sculpted between 1255 and 1260 by Nicola Pisano, father of Giovanni, the artist who produced the pulpit in the Duomo and is the most striking piece in the Baptistery.

    The contrast between the interior of the cathedral and that of the Baptistery could not be more black and white, with the simplicity of the Baptistery really causing one to pause, to just stop and breathe. The sense of history and beliefs is very strong in here and it was great to be able to experience it.
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