Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista - Church of St John Baptist, Monterosso al Mare
The parish church of San Giovanni Battista is located in a small Piazza don Giovanni Minzoni, right next to Piazza Garibaldi. The church was built between the 13th and 14th century, completed in 1307, and later renovated in the era of Baroque. The facade, which dates from 1307, features a two-tone white and dark serpentine facing, a large rose window of white marble under which is the main portal. The lunette of the portal is frescoed, depicting "The Baptism of Christ" from the 18th century.
The internal structure has a plan of an basilica with three naves and two ausles, and for its characteristics is a pure Genovese Gothic style, which was more highlighted after the restoration carried out between 1963-1964. The interior preserved baptismal font made in 1360, a painting of "Madonna del Rosario" - at the right wall of the Presbytery, work of painting school by Luca Cambiaso - and the crucifixion on the left wall by an unknown Genovese painter from the 16th century.
The bell tower was originally a watchtower, part of the fortification built by the Republic of Genova in the 13th century. In the 15th century the tower was raised, and in the 18th c. it was partly rebuilt after an earthquake which provoked serious damages. The bell tower is square shaped and crowned by merlons.
Monterosso’s bell tower and Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista occupy a prominent place on Piazza Garibaldi - although you have to go up the block and 'round the corner to tiny Piazza Don Minzoni find the church’s front door. It's squeezed into such a narrow space that almost every photo of the facade I’ve seen looks almost exactly like mine; there’s not a lot of room for angling a lens. St. John the Baptist was built in the mid-to-late 13th century with the multi-colored (polychrome) decoration and pointed arches that characterize Italian Gothic churches of the the Middle Ages; not that zebra-striped walls, arches and pillars were anything new under the Medieval sun. Go to Pompeii and you’ll see similar layerings of red brick and lighter stone - a style labeled opus listatum - in all sorts of architectural elements.
There’s no real need for me to go into the small details as the basilica provides a very nice pamphlet - in English - that will do a better job of that than I will. What struck me at the time was, considering the extensive damage the church sustained in the 2011 flood, how well it had been cleaned and repaired in just a matter of months. If you look closely at my main photo, you can see traces of floodline along the walls.
This website has a photo of how the sanctuary looked when the waters were receding:
The bell tower was probably built in the early 1300’s and was originally much shorter than it is now. Part of Monterosso’s collection of defensive coastal watchtowers, its upper stories were added in the 17th century.
Construction of the Romanesque-style Chiesa di San Giovanni Batisto began in 1282 and finished in 1307. Its Carrara marble exterior appears to be black and white horizontal stripes, but in fact the "black" stones are an aged green.
While St. John the Baptist is far from being one of Italy's most memorable churches, it's worth a few minutes before or after the more interesting Oratory of the Dead, which is nearby. I was especially impressed by the church's lacy rose window and the painting of the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist (above the doorway) shown in my first photo.
The bell tower, seen from the Piazza Garibaldi in the fourth photo, dates to the middle ages and saw double duty as a watch tower from which to spot oncoming pirate invaders.
One of the first sights you will see on entering the old part of Monterosso is the campanile of the church of St. John the Baptist or San Giovanni Batisto. This tower is in fact a guard tower as well as a campanile, part of the defence system of Genoa. Like the church itself it dates from the 14th century.
Walk round to the front of the church and you will be struck by its dramatic facade of horizontal black and white stripes (the black is really green serpentine but appears black to all intents and purposes). Above the door is a painting of John the Baptist baptising Jesus in the River Jordan (rather weathered as you can see in my photo - number 3) and above this a beautiful rose window with twisted stone spokes, very typical of this region.
Inside the church is laid out like a basilica, with three naves. Later Baroque altars were removed in the 1960s and the church restored to its original 14th century appearance. The black and white stripes of the facade are echoed on the pillars and arches. The central nave has a 17th century vaulted ceiling but those of the side aisles have been restored to their 14th century appearance. The altar dates from around 1740 and its ornate Baroque style seems somewhat out of keeping with the more stark design of the church itself. Near the door (left-hand side as you enter) is a large stone font dating from 1360.
The church was built between 1244 and 1307 in Ligurian Gothic style. The beautiful facade is decorated with white and green marble and introduces. It has a pointed arch between little marble column embellished with a rose window attributed to Matteo and Pietro from Campiglio. Like the churches of Vernazza and Corniglia, the inside narrows progressively towards the entrance. The bell tower crowned by merlons was originally a medieval defensive tower with a rectangular plant in green stone.
Located in the heart of Monterosso's old town is the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista. This lovely church was constructed between 1244 and 1307, and when we visited in Sep 2007 it was celebrating its 700 year anniversary!
The church has a stunning white and green marble façade, and the marble continues inside with striped columns. There is also a pretty rose window above the main entrance.
Take time to have a look inside, and let me know what you think of those out-of-place crystal chandeliers hanging down from the ceiling. Odd.
In the old part of Monterosso you will find the church of San Giovanni Battista, a remarkable Gothic church which was built in the 13th century. The black and white striped facade and the rosette window are striking from the outside, but the inside is well worth a visit as well! The square tower was origianally a watch tower, which was then integrated into the church and later used as the church tower!
all pictures taken by my husband VT member Madschick
The picturesque bell tower emerges from the old town and it belongs to the 13th century Gothic Church of St. John the Baptist and it has a marble façade. Near the church there is the Baroque Oratory of St. Maria del Porto Salvo and its ruins are enclosed in a modern structure of the Loggia of the Podestà. There is also a 16th century Oratory of St. Croce.