The Baptistery (officially Battistero di San Giovanni) is the round building in the Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa. Completed in the 14th century, it is famous for the decorations made by the Pisani family. Its height of 55 metres makes it the tallest baptistery in Italy.
Address, opening hours and admission
The address of the Battistero di San Giovanni is Piazza del Duomo – Pisa. Bus: 3, A. Opening hours: November to February from 10.00 to 16.30; March to October from 09.00 to 18.30; April to September from 08.00 to 20.00 hours. Closed: 1 January, 25 December. Entrance fee: 5 Euro.
History of San Giovanni Baptistery Pisa
Although construction of the Baptistery began in 1152, it was not completed until more than two centuries later.
The architect who oversaw the first phase of its construction, up to the top of the arches on the first level, was called Diotisalvi. (If this man would have been born in an English speaking country, his surname would have been “MayGodSaveYou”).
Guidetto (early 13th century) was responsible for the ornaments at the entrance and on the walls, as well as for the roof of the circular nave.
In 1260 it was the turn of Nicola Pisano, who raised the exterior to the level of the smaller arches. His son Giovanni Pisano then added the top row of tympanums.
After this, work was interrupted and it was not until the 14th century that the matronum and the roof were added.
The Baptistery has a round floor plan. The exterior is characterized by large blind arches separated by pillars. In the middle of each arch there is a monophore. There are four entrance doors. Above is a row of round arches crowned with tympanums.
Some of the sculptures under the tympanums can now be seen in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. The arches are decorated with protomes by Nicola Pisano himself.
The statue on the dome represents San Giovanni and was made in 1395 by Turino di Sano.
The entrance opposite the Cathedral was decorated with Greek-Byzantine sculptures between 1203 and 1204.
On a column inside the baptistery there is an inscription with the name of the original architect Diotisalvi.
The pulpit made by Nicola Pisano is decorated with images of events in the life of Christ and with symbols of the various virtues.