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BATTISTERO DI SAN GIOVANNI  Florence (Florence)   (4) Mi garba
 
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Florence - Florence (Florence) Battistero di san Giovanni in Florence - Museums in Florence works of art and hotel reservation in Florence - Tuscany with tuscaning.com
 
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The Florence Baptistry or Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistery of St. John) is a religious building in Florence (Tuscany), Italy, which has the status of a minor basilica.It is one of the oldest buildings in the city, built between 1059 and 1128. The architecture is in Florentine Romanesque style. The Baptistry is renowned for its three sets of artistically important bronze doors with relief sculptures by Lorenzo Ghiberti. These doors were dubbed by Michelangelo the Gates of Paradise because of their beauty, and they were said to have begun the Renaissance.The octagonal Baptistry stands in the Piazza del Duomo, across from the Duomo cathedral and the Giotto bell tower (Campanile di Giotto).The Italian poet, Dante Alighieri and many famed artists and leaders of the Renaissance, including members of the Medici family, were baptized here.For a long time, it was believed that the Baptistry was originally a Roman temple dedicated to Mars, the tutelary god of the old Florence.[4]Dante is often mentioned as the founder of this legend, but this is wrong. The founder of this legend was Giovanni Villani in his 14th century Nuova Cronica on the history of Florence. However, excavations in the 20th century have shown that there was a first century Roman wall running through the piazza with the Baptistry. The Baptistry is likely built on the remains of a Roman guard tower on the corner of this wall, or potentially another Roman building. It is however certain that a first octagonal baptistry was erected here in the late 4th or early 5th century. It was replaced or altered by another early Christian baptistry in the 6th century. Its construction is attributed to Theodelinda, queen of the Lombards (570-628) to seal the conversion of her husband, king Authari.This octagonal shape has been a common shape for baptistries for many centuries since early Christianity. Other early examples are the Lateran Baptistery (440) that provided a model for others throughout Italy, the Church of the Saints Sergius and Bacchus (527-536) in Constantinople and the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna (548).This baptistry was the city´s second basilica after San Lorenzo outside the northern city wall, and predates the church Santa Reparata. It was first recorded as such on 4 March 897, when the Count Palatine and envoy of the Holy Roman Emperor sat there to administer justice. The granite pilasters were probably taken from the Roman Forum in Florence, where the Piazza della Reppublica exists today. At that time, the baptistry was surrounded by a cemetery with Roman sarcophagi, used by important Florentine families as tomb (now in the Museo dell´Opera del Duomo).A new and much larger octagonal baptistry was built in Romanesque style around 1059, evidence of a period of growing economic and political importance of Florence. It was reconsecrated on 6 November 1059 by Pope Nicholas II, a Florentine. According to legend, the marbles were brought from Fiesole, conquered by Florence in 1078. Other marble came from ancient structures. The construction was already finished in 1128.An octagonal lantern was added to the pavilion roof around 1150. It was enlarged with a rectangular apse on the west side in 1202. On the corners, under the roof, are monstrous lion heads with a human head under their claws. They are early representations of Marzocco, the heraldic Florentine lion (see Loggia dei Lanzi).Between the 14th and the 16th century, three bronze double doors were added, with the bronze and marble statues above them. This gives an indication that the baptistry, and not the cathedral, was initially in the highest esteem of the Florentines.Until the end of the 19th century, all Catholic Florentines were baptized in this Baptistry.It is a place beloved and revered by Florentines for centuries.
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Sources and References Index
Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Baptistry
 
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