Lateran Baptistery

San Giovanni in Fonte al Laterano, Rome 4th century

The Lateran Baptistery, also known as the Baptistery of St. John Lateran, is one of the oldest and most important religious buildings in Rome. Located near the Basilica of St. John Lateran, it is one of the four ancient baptisteries in Rome and dates back to early Christian times.

The architecture of the Lateran Baptistery reflects the characteristics of Christian architecture of the time, and is a significant example of the Romanesque style. The building was initially constructed in the 4th century under Pope Sixtus III, but underwent several modifications over the centuries, resulting in an interesting combination of architectural styles.

Here are some highlights of the architecture of the Lateran Baptistery:

Plan: The plan of the Baptistery is octagonal, typical of baptisteries of the time. The octagon represents the number eight, symbolising resurrection and spiritual rebirth through baptism.

Walls: the outer walls of the building are made of brick and covered with marble architectural elements. Decorative elements were added in later periods, including mosaics, columns and capitals.

Interior: The interior of the Baptistery presents a relatively simple design with a solemn and sacred atmosphere. In the centre of the building is a large baptismal font, where baptismal rites were performed.

Dome: The building’s dome is one of its most distinctive elements. It was added at a later date and is decorated with mosaics depicting scenes from the life of Jesus Christ.

Mosaics: The mosaics in the interior are particularly noteworthy and are a testimony to the Byzantine art of the time. They depict episodes from the Bible, scenes from the life of Jesus, saints and angels.

Architectural Style: The architecture of the Lateran Baptistery represents a fusion of styles from classical antiquity with Christian elements. This synergy is typical of Romanesque architecture, which incorporated influences and elements from different eras and cultures.

It is important to emphasise that, given the antiquity of the building and the different phases of construction and restoration that have taken place over the centuries, the appearance of the Lateran Baptistery may vary depending on the era in which it is observed and the changes made over time.

Drawings that can be purchased

Lateran Baptistery


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galleria foto del battistero

Lateran Baptistery

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