Tuesday, June 25, 2013


The Cathedral’s octagonal baptistry is no less remarkable. Built in the Florentine Romanesque style between 1059 and 1128, it’s one of the oldest buildings in Florence. It’s separate from the Cathedral because, at the time, the unbaptized could not enter a church. The bronze gilt doors, designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti (only 21 at the time), took 21 years to complete and Michaelangelo said they were fit to be the gates of paradise. But the interior surpasses them for the sheer bravado of its mosaics and its inlaid marble floor. Other than a few tombs and an altar, there’s not much “furniture.” You wouldn’t look at it if there were, staring alternately at the gorgeous dome and those floors, anyway.

Door detail:

Note Christ in the original "thumbs up, thumbs down" pose:

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