Interior of the Baptistery

Baptistery of San Giovanni

The tradition that wants the Baptistery to be a Roman temple is well testified by its interior.
The vast domed room, which in its layout recalls the Pantheon, is in fact enriched by elements attributable to ancient monuments: monolithic columns, two sculpted sarcophagi, and part of the marble covering.

The flooring, on the other hand, evokes the Islamic world: oriental zodiacal motifs are recognizable in the "carpets" between the door of Paradise and the center of the hall, giving the effect of a magnificent crossroads.
At the center of the Baptistery was the ancient baptismal font, bordered by an octagonal fence, as evidenced by the perimeter traced on the floor.

1) Universal judgment
2) Angelic hierarchies
3) Stories from Genesis
4) Stories of Joseph
5) Stories of Mary and Christ
6) Stories of the Baptist

The horizontal registers of the other five segments of the dome depict the stories of Saint John the Baptist, of Christ, of Joseph the Jew and of the beginnings of human life (Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and his family).

The creation of the mosaics was probably entrusted to Venetian craftsmen, assisted by important local artists who supplied the cartoons, such as Coppo di Marcovaldo, Meliore, the Maestro della Maddalena and Cimabue.

In February 2023, the first stages of an impressive restoration project were launched which will last a total of 6 years. The more than 1.000 square meters of mosaics – made with 10 million polychrome tesserae ranging from 5 to 20 mm per side – will be the subject of an intervention which intends to recover the structural stability and their adhesion to the vault, stop the phenomena of degradation and bring to light the splendor of the gold background and the vivid colors of the glass tiles.