Battistero San Giovanni & Gate of Paradise, Florence

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 78 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • battistero di San Giovanni
    battistero di San Giovanni
    by croisbeauty
  • Battistero di San Giovanni
    Battistero di San Giovanni
    by croisbeauty
  • Battistero di San Giovanni
    Battistero di San Giovanni
    by croisbeauty
  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    Battistero di San Giovanni

    by croisbeauty Updated Mar 18, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    battistero di San Giovanni
    4 more images

    The Baptistery of San Giovanni have been built originally around 4th to 5th century, octagonal in plan with a semi-circular apse. In the 11th century it became the city cathedral, since Santa Reparata was being rebuilt. In that circumstances the Baptistery was refaced both inside and out, while in 1128, the smooth pyramidal roof was finished and topped by a lantern with columns. After this works, finished in 1150, the Baptistery looked as it does today.
    Thr three bronze doors of the Baptistery are particularly important. The South door, by Andrea Pisano, is the oldest, decorated with scenes from the Life of San Giovanni the Baptist and the Allegories of the Theologian and CardinalVirtues. The North door with stories from the New Testament is by Lorenzo Ghiberti, with the help of Donatello, Paolo Uccello, Bernardo Ciuffagni and Bernardo Cennini. The Eastern door, known also as the Gates of Paradise with ten panels (now replaced by the copies) representing Stories from the Old Testament is by Lorenzo Ghiberti, and is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of 15th century sculptures.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • EugeneM's Profile Photo

    A Night at the Baptistry!

    by EugeneM Written Jul 27, 2013
    The amazing early 13th century gold mosaic cupola!
    1 more image

    The Baptistry of San Giovanni in Florence is one of the most beautiful spaces I know, a real favorite of mine. Its mosaic cupola is among the most exquisite things your eyes will ever feast on.

    Summer in Florence can be hot and crowded, so why not take advantage of the Baptistry's late summer hours: Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights you'll find it open until 11:00pm! All other days, it stays open until 7:00pm. These hours will be in effect until September 28, 2013.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Portals to Paradise

    by goodfish Written Oct 10, 2012

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    Oh gosh, where do I start with this one…

    The Baptistery of St John is part of the Duomo complex and, other than the scavi under church, the oldest of the structures. Information on the thing is all over the place as it has never really been determined exactly how old it is: there’s this ongoing, erroneous myth that it was once a pre-Christian temple. Suffice it to say that a chapel was built over ancient, Roman foundations sometime between the 4th - 5th centuries, probably rebuilt again in the 7th, and again in the 11th. It also wasn't used exclusively for baptisms until the 12th. Over those centuries significant other changes were made: marble cladding and pavement added to the interior (11th/12th), Romanesque-style marble veneer to the exterior and addition of a third, upper story (12th/13th), and intricate, glittering mosaics applied to cupola, apse and other sections of interior (13th/14th).

    And then there are those famous doors: Andrea Pisano’s to the south, and Lorenzo Ghiberti’s to the north and east. The most beautiful - Ghiberti’s bronze “Gates of Paradise” - took 27 years to complete and are now in the cathedral's museum (Museo dell’Opera del Duomo). A copy now serves as a stand-in, and you can see the panel the artist submitted to win the commission at the Bargello.

    The mosaics alone are stunning: this is, in my humble opinion, the real jewel of the Duomo campus and well worth the ticket price. Other highlights include a Donatello tomb of Anti-pope Giovanni XXIII, and gorgeous inlaid 'carpet' pavements - look for the astrological wheel -which radiate out from the center, where the font once stood, to the three entrance doors. This website has some nice pages on the individual panels of the doors, stories and meanings illustrated in the mosaics, and other interesting background: print them out to take along.

    http://www.duomofirenze.it/index-eng.htm

    See the website below for hours and ticket prices. NOTE: the baptistery is considered a sacred site so appropriate dress is required to visit the inside: no uncovered knees or shoulders. Also, no flash, tripods or cell phone use is allowed.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Martin_S.'s Profile Photo

    The Babtistry

    by Martin_S. Written Jul 24, 2011
    Babtistry, Duomo, Florence, Italy
    3 more images

    Probably the most architecturaly interesting structure in the Duomo compound is the Babtistry with its multiple arched hexagonal sections and bronze doors. ESPECIALLY the bronze doors, included here in the photos is a closeup of just one of the panels. Beautiful detail.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • aukahkay's Profile Photo

    Battistero di San Giovanni

    by aukahkay Written Nov 5, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Baptistery
    4 more images

    The 11th century Baptistery stands above an ancient Roman building and remained in use until just after WWII. Many famous people, including Dante, were baptised here. The external decoration, in strips of white and green marble, are in geometric patterns. The Renaissance bronze doors of the Baptistery, placed at cardinal points, are universally famous. The eastern door, which Michelangelo called The Gate of Paradise, is by Ghiberti, who in ten large separate panels depicted scenes from the Old Testament.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • JoostvandenVondel's Profile Photo

    Battistero di San Giovanni

    by JoostvandenVondel Updated Jul 30, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Battistero di San Giovanni, Exterior South West
    4 more images

    Italy's ecclesiastical structures never fail to inspire me and the Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistery of Saint John) or the Florence Baptistery is no exception.

    Whereas the baptismal font is usually given a separate place within the body of a church, many cathedrals in Southern Europe had a separate structure reserved for the celebration of the first sacrement of Christian life: baptism. Given the sacramental importance of baptism, the baptisteries were splendidly designed to welcome the newest members of the faith and the Battistero di San Giovanni is a perfect example of this.

    The octagonal structure is one of the oldest buildings in Florence, built between 1059 and 1128. It is built in the romanesque style which signifies a mural architecture. Prior to the inventions of buttresses and other methods or architectural support, large buildings had to depend on their outer walls for support which restricted the number and size of windows incorporated in the building. The round arches used were directly inherited from Roman engineering, hence the name romanesque, and most structures were built along strict symmetrical plans, for example, the plan of the baptistery of Florence.

    The baptistery's exterior is clad with the characteristic polychrome (multi-coloured) florentine marble and its doors adorned during the Renaissance with relief sculptures by Lorenzo Ghiberti. The ones you see today are copies, the originals are located in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.

    Whereas the interior of the Duomo may be considered stark in comparison to its exterior, the baptistery's interior is of a splendid opulance, surpassing its exterior. The interior walls are equally clad with highly polished polychromed walls inlaid in geometrical patterns. But its crowning glory is its mosaic ceiling which will capture any visitor's attention for a long, lingering moment. This magnificent work was started by Venetian craftsmen in 1225 and was not completed until the 14th century. The mosic cycle depicts the Last Judgement, stories from the Book of Genesis, of Joseph, of Mary and Christ and of Saint John the Baptist.

    I love this building. It is quite simply a jewel and worth revisiting numerous times. One cannot but look upward in awe at the majestry of the Christ and other mosaics. Do visit close to the closing times when crowds are thinner.

    Opening hours:

    Weekdays: 12.00 pm – 7.00 pm. First Saturday of the month: 8.30 am – 2.00 pm

    Holidays and Sundays: 8.30 am - 2.00 pm. Easter Monday, April 25, May 1: 8.30 am – 7.00 pm

    Entrance fee: €3.00

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Baptistery - a little disappointing

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jul 5, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Door of the Baptistery of St. Giovanni
    1 more image

    After waiting days for the entrance lines to be of a reasonable length, we finally made it to the Baptistery of St. Giovanni. The Baptistery is believed to be the oldest building in the city, although there is some controversy about that.

    Although the mosaics of the cupola (ceiling) were beautiful, the rest of the Baptistery was very small and plain – and empty. The most beautiful part of the Baptistery are the three bronze doors on the outside, with the nicest being the Gate of Paradise on the east side of the Baptistey. Stories from the Old Testament including the Creation of Adam and Eve and the Sacrifice of Noah are each enclosed with a frame on the door.

    This wouldn't be on my list of must-sees in Florence - especially since you can see the best part - the doors - without entering, but I guess it's one of those sites everyone (including me) will see anyway.

    Get here as early as possible to avoid the tour groups and general crowds!

    Admission charge.

    Hours:
    Monday - Saturday 12:15 p.m. - 7 p.m.
    Sunday 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.

    Please note that all visitor information is correct as of this writing.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • jorgec25's Profile Photo

    Baptistery

    by jorgec25 Written Jun 16, 2009

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Baptistery
    4 more images

    The Baptistery, near the Duomo is mostly famous for its golden gate. But there is a lot more to see in the interior. It's well worth a visit, even though sometimes the queues at the entrance can be long. Take notice of the beautiful ceilings and statues. There was some small restoration work going on in May 2009, but nothing that can ruin your visit.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tijavi's Profile Photo

    The Baptistry

    by Tijavi Updated May 29, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mosaic figure of Christ at the front ceiling
    4 more images

    In a sign of atonement for the Duomo's sparse interiors, the nearby Baptistry's interiors is richly covered in 13th century colorful mosaics. The ones that adorn the ceiling depict the Last Judgment, quite misplaced if you ask me for a building meant to celebrate a child's initiation into Christendom. Outside, it's all works of art galore, not least among them the south door by Andrea Pisano and the east door by Lorenzo Ghiberti. But beware, these are replicas, originals of which are stored at the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.

    Dedicated to St the John the Baptist (now this sounds more appropriate), this romanesque octagonal building is one of the oldest in Florence, having been completed in the 11th century.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • lina112's Profile Photo

    Battistero di San Giovanni

    by lina112 Updated Nov 17, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    It is one of the oldest buildings in the city, built between 1059 and 1128. Until the end of the 19th century, all Catholic Florentines were baptized in this Baptistry. The interior is rather dark, light entering through small windows in the ambulatory and through the lantern. The interior is divided in a lower part with columns and pilasters and an upper part with an ambulatory. The baptistry is crowned by a magnificent mosaic ceiling. The covering of the ceiling started under the direction of the Franciscan friar Jacopo da Torrita and was probably not completed until the 14th century.

    Ticket: 3 Euros

    Es uno de los edificios mas antiguos de Florencia, fue construido entre 1059 y 1128 y es un ejemplo de la arquitectura romana del siglo XI. El interior es bastante oscuro la luz entre a traves de de las pequeñas ventanas del deambulatorio y por los faroles, está dividido por la parte baja con columnas y pilas y la parte de arriba con un deambulatorio. Lo mas destacado del interior es el mosaico del techo, el trabajo se empezó bajo la dirección de Jacopo da Torrita y no se completó hasta el siglo XIV

    Entrada: 3 Euros

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • wilocrek's Profile Photo

    The Golden Door

    by wilocrek Written Mar 29, 2008

    This is one of the most famous doors in Florence, and why not? Its gold! Located on the east side of the Baptistry, this golden door always has a crowd around it. On each square is a representation of historical religious event in the proper time line. The artistic skill involved is extremely impressive, so don't be turned off by the crowd around it, just fight your way to the front and enjoy!

    Was this review helpful?

  • wilocrek's Profile Photo

    Baptistry

    by wilocrek Written Mar 17, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    Visiting the Baptistry is worth the price of admission for the painting on the inside of the dome. Not only is it a wonderful painting but because the dome isn't very high its easier to see and appreciate. Its also one of the easier paintings to follow and understand.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Redang's Profile Photo

    Battistero di S Giovanni/Baptistery of S Giovanni

    by Redang Written Oct 6, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Baptistery of San Giovanny (Florence, Italy)
    4 more images

    The Baptistery is the oldest building of all three: Cathedral, Cathedral and Giott's Bell Tower.

    Other websites:
    - www.firenzeturismo.it/component/option,com_wrapper/Itemid,44/lang,en_EN
    - www.mega.it/eng/egui/monu/buq.htm

    Was this review helpful?

  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Battistero

    by mikey_e Written Aug 21, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Il Battistero
    1 more image

    A Baptistery has stood on the spot where Il Battistero is now located since the 5th Century, but the current façade dates from much later, in the 11th Century. Dante Alighieri and other famous Florentines were baptized here, which is why the Battistero deserves just as much of the limelight as Il Duomo across from which it stands. The white and green exterior is typical of the so-called "Tuscan Romansque" school, while the three bronze doors to the Battistero are later additions representing the story of man and his redemption. The south doors were in place by 1336 and were created by Pisano with bas-reliefs of the life of John the Baptist. The north doors are a work by Ghiberti (1401-02) and 20 different panels on these doors depict major incidents from the New Testament. Brunelleschi (the architect who completed Il Duomo) was supposed to share the work with Ghiberti, but was so insulted by the suggestion that he refused. Ghiberti later did the east doors of the Battistero with ten scenes from the Old Testament. Michelangelo was so taken by these doors he declared that they must be "la porta del Paradiso" - the Gate of Paradise. The interior of the Battistero is open to visitors and features more scenes from the Old and New Testaments and inlaid marble designs of the planets on the floor.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • AnnS's Profile Photo

    Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistery of St John)

    by AnnS Updated Feb 5, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mosaic Ceiling of the Baptistry Dome

    Beside the Basilica, in the Piazza del Duomo, is the Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistery of St John). The exterior doors are worth studying before you go inside as they are covered in wonderfully intricate bronze scenes, dating back to 1329.

    Inside... look up and you will see the most magnifcent mosaic ceiling. Each panel represents a scene from the Bible and free leaflets are available that explain them in more detail.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Florence

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

105 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Battistero San Giovanni & Gate of Paradise
4.0 out of 5 stars
91 Opinions
0 miles away
Show Prices
4.5 out of 5 stars
911 Opinions
0 miles away
Show Prices
4.0 out of 5 stars
92 Opinions
0.1 miles away
Show Prices

View all Florence hotels