The geniality and culture of the great architect and sculpturer
Benedetto Antelami is completely revealed in the Battistero
designed by him in hectagonal form (it is the shape of
perfection because itís the closest to a circle ) alternating with
great portals which are a French gothic reminder
of his name and the starting date of the construction (1196) are
engraved on the main portalís architrave dedicated to the Vergin
Mary right on the square.
The sculptures which are in great part
attributed to Antelami himself, are distributed externally on the
three great portals: regarding the Vergin Mary with stories of St.
John and Jesus, the Judgment and finally on the south door with
the legend of Barlaan.
Running all along the outside of the building is the Ionic style
frieze a series of sculptured tiles demonstrating real and imaginative
animals, symbols of the ideas of life and nature of the Medieval
The inside,which is now fully restored, shines in unique
splendor and the
great work of images unfolds itself in the dome painted by
Byzantine masters between 1260 and 1270; in the internal, symmetrical,
lunettes and in the external ones sculptured by Benedetto
Antelami, the trace of colours are evident which once covered
the figures as in the series of the great statues of the months.
In the centre rises the great immersion style Baptism font;
sideways lies the Antelamic style altar. The dome is the image
of a celestial Jerusalem to which are connected the stories of
Abraham, St. John, the Apostles
and the Prophets with Christ interceding and the Vergin Mary.