A part of the religious trio of Duomo, Campanile and Baptisry, the building is another architectural treasure in the layered alternating color marble style with sculptural... read more
Built in its present form in Gothic style in the first half of the XIV c....
Built in its present form in Gothic style in the first half of the XIV c. on the site of the old “Paleochristian” and Baptismal church of Santa Maria and San Giovanni. The name “in corte” certifies the presence of a Curtis domini regis, the headquarters of the “gestaldo” in the Lombard period.
During the building, which lasted from 1338 to 1360, the grave of Bishop Atto, who died in 1153, was found (he introduced the “Jacobean” cult in Pistoia).
Even though Vasari claimed that Andrea Pisano had designed the baptistery there’s no sure proof about that. It is sure, however, that Cellino di Nese managed the operation: he’s responsible for the outside marble facing. The white marbles originate from Siena and Carrara; the green ones from Prato.
The octagonal shaped building presents a pyramidal roofing completed by an elegant lantern. The cupola is covered with sheets of lead surrounded by an open gallery with marble balustrade enriched with spires and statuettes.
In the lunette of the main door we can notice the sculptures of Madonna with Child between St. John the Baptist and St. Peter that are traditionally attributed to Nino and Tommaso, sons of Andrea Pisano. The architrave is divided in four bas-reliefs depicting stories of St. John’s life. The door-knockers of the central portal are a masterpiece of wood-cutting and are the work of Pier Francesco Ventura (1523).
Inside, the baptismal font can be seen, carved by Lanfranco da Como in 1226.
During the Baroque period, this was included in a structure surmounted by the marble statue of St. John the Baptist, a work by Andrea Vacca, now on view in the Baptistery.