Baptistery in Parma
The pink marble Baptistery in Parma is a remarkable example of the transition from Romanesque to Gothic art in Italy. This octagonal baptistery is constructed from Verona marble and features four tiers of open loggias crowned by a row of blind arches and pinnacles.
Construction of the baptistery began in 1196, with Lombard builders who were also working on the cathedral. It was completed between 1302 and 1307 under the supervision of Benedetto Antelami, who executed most of the decorative sculptures following medieval iconography.
The lower part of the baptistery is adorned with a zoophorus, featuring bas-relief sculptures of various creatures, including animals, mythical beings, figures from Hell, sea monsters, centaurs, mermaids, unicorns, and Zodiac signs.
The north door, known as the Portale della Vergine, is decorated with scenes of the Adoration of the Magi, the Annunciation, the twelve prophets, the Tree of Jacob on the right, the Tree of Jesse on the left, and the Tree of life on the inside. The west door, Portale del Giudizio, features a figure of the Redeemer in the lunette. The south door, Portale della Vita or Door of Life, depicts a man eating honey in a tree with two rodents and a dragon at the base, while the sides show the chariots of the Sun and Moon.
Inside the baptistery’s sixteen-sided polygonal space, Benedetto Antelami’s notable sculptures represent the Months, the Seasons, and the Signs of the Zodiac. Above the altar, in the semi-dome, is a Christ in Glory surrounded by the symbols of the four evangelists and two angels.
This website uses affiliate links which may earn a commission at no additional cost to you!
Visiting Baptistery, Parma
Open every day from 10am to 6pm* (* last admission 5.30pm)
€ 12,00 Diocesan museum & Baptistery