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The Baptistery is dedicated to San Juan Bautista and is an extraordinarily impressive construction. Not surprisingly, with a circumference of 107.25 metres it is the largest baptistery in all of Italy. And if the statue of San Juan Bautista, work Turino di Sano, which crowns the dome, is taken into account, it would be taller than the Tower of Pisa.
Founded in 1152, at the bottom its circular base follows the Romanesque work of Diotisalvi, whose name is mentioned on an interior column: "Diotosalvi magister". At the top of the baptistery and dome there are Gothic decorations, added by Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni in the late thirteenth century.
The enormous dimensions of the building are more apparent from the inside; quite impressive, don’t you think? It is a huge space delicately illuminated by the numerous Romanesque and Gothic windows surrounding the building. You will love it.
There is also the beautiful Gothic pulpit made of marble by Nicola Pisano. It is supported on a central column on whose pedestal there are images of animals based on ancient pagan religions, and six other external columns, three of which rest on a lion symbolising the triumph of Christianity. The capitals of these columns are exquisite and on the arches there are pictures of the virtues, the prophets, the evangelists and St John the Baptist. To finish the work, carvings depicting the life of Jesus can be seen. They are exceptional.
This artist is renowned worldwide for being one of the forerunners of Italian Renaissance sculpture because, among other work, he restored the ancient representations. Therefore, the year that Nicola Pisano dated this pulpit marks the beginning of the Italian Renaissance. Exactly in 1260.
In addition, in the centre of the baptistery there is a beautiful octagonal baptismal font made in 1246 by Guido da Como Bigarelli.
As can be seen, it is an exceptional work that completes the harmony of the whole Piazza dei Miracoli.