"Romanesque Architecture: Saint John's Baptistery" Top 5 Page for this destination Ascoli Piceno Things to Do Tip by deecat
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The Baptistery (known as Battistero di S. Giovanni) is one of the most unique architectual sites in Ascoli. It's located on the left side of the Cathedral. The shape is a square dome with an octagonal lantern that is embellished on its sides by arched 3-lighted blind windows (except for that part that overlooks the eastern part. That part has 2 mullioned windows with two lights.
This Baptistery is one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in Italy (so say the books). It was here in the early Middle Ages, but it was rebuilt in the last half of the 12th century. It was never open when I was there, but it supposedly has a circular fount for baptism by immersion inside. They say that the interior part is much older and was part of the adjacent Basilica (which is now the Cathedral). The exterior is built of completely different materials, in this case, Travertine from ancient nearby structures (11th and 12th centuries).
Being an English teacher, I love symbolism; thus, when I read that the shape of the Baptistery has a symbolical meaning, I was fascinated. "The square plant of the bottom part represents the terrestrial world, the dome the sky; in other words, the immensity, the central octagonal part represents baptism as the mediation between the earthly and the divine". I say "WOW" to that symbolism!
Directions: Piazza Arringo next to the Cathedral, standing in one of the busiest streets in Ascoli. It faces the cathedral, behind the twin Renaissance fountains.
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