ARCHITECT, Italian
(active 11th century in Florence)

Exterior view

11th century
Photo
Baptistry, Florence

The Baptistry in Florence, dedicated to St John the Baptist, the patron saint of the city, is generally considered to be a Romanesque building dating back to the eleventh century. However, recently it was hypothesized that this construction was erected in the fifth century to commemorate the unexpected victory of Flavius Stilicho over the Vandal, Radagaisus, who was halted in AD 406 at the gates of Florentia. The octagon with its pyramidal-shaped roof would therefore be a Late Roman construction.

The preciousness of the two-coloured cladding materials, in geometric divisions, revealing the desire for differentiation from the usual stone or brick masonry, is the distinctive characteristic of the Baptistry façades.

In Florence, the Baptistry is the most representative building in terms of its essential form and the quality of its structure, which epitomizes the unchangeable features of what was to be the best subsequent Florentine architecture.

View the cross-section of the Baptistry, Florence.