In 1152 began the construction of a new Baptistery, which was comparable to the Cathedral as regards location, size, materials and style. At that time the Cathedral had already been consecrated and liturgical services were officially held inside it. Although under ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the Baptistery, as well as the Cathedral, was built with the cooperation of all the citizens, which proved evident when, after 15 days of drudgery, the internal monolithic columns were erected.
Like the Cathedral, the round-shaped Baptistery is surrounded by columned arcades, and is made of white marble inlaid with grey bands. The carvings on the main portal, framed by columns with floral patterns, and the arcaded gallery echo the Cathedral.
Later it was completed by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano with arcades and pinnacles. Inside, eight monolithic columns, competing in height with those in the Cathedral, are alternated with four pillars and form a central area in which is placed an octagonal baptismal font by Guido da Como, flanked by Nicola Pisano's Pulpit (1260).
A spiral staircase, which became a reoccurring element in the Tower, leads up to the women's gallery which is roofed with a barrel vault and looks into the central area through a series of round- headed arches. The roof consists of a double dome: the internal dome is a dodecagonal truncated pyramid, whereas the external one is barrel vaulted and surmounted by a cupola. The space and shape layout are very original. They contribute to the harmonious aspect of the monumental complex and reflect the Byzantine and Islamic influences of the Cathedral dome and the Gothic style of the works by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano.
The First Phase: Diotisalvi's work
The current Baptistery structure was mainly conceived by Diotisalvi, who was in charge of its construction from 1152 to about 1180 ca., until the completion of the top of the arches in the first order and of the inside columns and piers, excluding the capitals.
He probably also conceived the small loggia of the second order which accurately resembles the Cathedral façade. Diotisalvi’s project was influenced by the political and civil events marking the Cathedral foundation: events related to the Holy Wars were reflected in the Baptistery shape, which was conceived to resemble the Holy Sepulchre.
In 1185 solemn ceremonies, like the appointment of the Operaio del Duomo, took place inside it: therefore there must have been a roof in place. Its faithfulness to the original plan has not been confirmed, because the work was performed by a very different workshop of Lombard origin, and is recognisable in the corbels supporting the external ambulatory vaults.
Consistent with Diotisalvi's style, instead, is the great portal decoration with strong Byzantine influence, which presumably dates back to the 13th century, according to comparison with accurately dated works by the same workshop.
Piazza del Duomo - Pisa
1 monument among Battistero, Camposanto Monumentale, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Museo delle Sinopie: 5,00 euro
2 monuments among Battistero, Camposanto Monumentale, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Museo delle Sinopie: 6,00 euro
4 monuments Battistero, Camposanto Monumentale, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Museo delle Sinopie: 8,50 euro
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1 monuments among Battistero, Camposanto Monumentale, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Museo delle Sinopie: 2,00 euro
2 monuments among Battistero, Camposanto Monumentale, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Museo delle Sinopie: 3,00 euro
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Opera Primaziale Pisana
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