x

Travel

Visitors Can See Florence Baptistry Mosaics Up Close (Photos)

February 8, 2023

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Visitors to one of Florence’s most iconic monuments — the Baptistry of San Giovanni, opposite the city’s Duomo — are getting a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see its ceiling mosaics up close thanks to an innovative approach to a planned restoration effort.

Rather than limit the public’s access during the six-year cleaning of the vault, officials have built a scaffolding platform for the art restorers that will also allow small numbers of visitors to see the ceiling mosaics at eye level.

“We had to turn this occasion into an opportunity to make it even more accessible and usable by the public through special routes that would bring visitors into direct contact with the mosaics,” said Samuele Caciagli, architect in charge of the restoration site.

People walk past St. John’s Baptistery, one of the oldest churches in Florence, central Italy, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. The Baptistery’s dome is undergoing a restoration work that will be done from an innovative scaffolding shaped like a giant mushroom that will stand for the next six years in the center of the church, and that will be open to visitors allowing them for the first and perhaps only time, to come come face to face with more than 1,000 square meters of precious mosaics covering the dome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

In an interview with The Associated Press, he called the new scaffolding tour of the Baptistry vault “a unique opportunity that is unlikely to be repeated in the coming decades.”

Visits to the scaffolding platform, which sprouts like a mushroom from the floor of the Baptistry and reaches a height of 32 meters (105 feet) from the ground, begin Feb. 24 and must be reserved in advance.

The octagonal-shaped baptistry is one of the most visible monuments of Florence, known perhaps more for its exterior, with its alternating geometric pattern of white Carrara and green Prato marble and its three great bronze doors depicting biblical scenes.

A view of Florence, central Italy, as seen from Michelangelo’s square, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. Florence’s St. John’s Baptistery’s dome is undergoing a restoration work that will be done from an innovative scaffolding shaped like a giant mushroom that will stand for the next six years in the center of the church, and that will be open to visitors allowing them for the first and perhaps only time, to come come face to face with more than 1,000 square meters of precious mosaics covering the dome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Inside, however, are spectacular mosaic scenes of The Last Judgment and John the Baptist, dating from the 13th century and using some 10 million pieces of stone and glass over 1,000 square meters of dome and wall.

The six-year restoration effort, the first in over a century, involves conducting diagnostic studies on the current state of the mosaics and intervening where necessary. Planned works include addressing water infiltration from the roof, removing decades of grime and re-affixing the stones to prevent them from detaching.


By FRANCESCO SPORTELLI Associated Press

Technicians work at the restoration of the mosaics that adorn the dome of one of the oldest churches in Florence, St. John’s Baptistery, in Florence, central Italy, Tuesday Feb. 7, 2023. The restoration work will be done from an innovative scaffolding shaped like a giant mushroom that will stand for the next six years in the center of the church, and that will be open to visitors allowing them for the first and perhaps only time, to come come face to face with more than 1,000 square meters of precious mosaics covering the dome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A detail of the mosaics that adorn the dome of one of the oldest churches in Florence, St. John’s Baptistery, in Florence, central Italy, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. The Baptistery’s dome is undergoing a restoration work that will be done from an innovative scaffolding shaped like a giant mushroom that will stand for the next six years in the center of the church, and that will be open to visitors allowing them for the first and perhaps only time, to come come face to face with more than 1,000 square meters of precious mosaics covering the dome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A detail of the mosaics that adorn the dome of one of the oldest churches in Florence, St. John’s Baptistery, in Florence, central Italy, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. The Baptistery’s dome is undergoing a restoration work that will be done from an innovative scaffolding shaped like a giant mushroom that will stand for the next six years in the center of the church, and that will be open to visitors allowing them for the first and perhaps only time, to come come face to face with more than 1,000 square meters of precious mosaics covering the dome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Technicians work on the restoration of the mosaics that adorn the dome of one of the oldest churches in Florence, St. John’s Baptistery, in Florence, central Italy, Tuesday Feb. 7, 2023. The restoration work will be done from an innovative scaffolding shaped like a giant mushroom that will stand for the next six years in the center of the church, and that will be open to visitors allowing them for the first and perhaps only time, to come come face to face with more than 1,000 square meters of precious mosaics covering the dome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

RELATED

ATHENS – The full moon is always an impressive phenomenon, especially during the summer when the beloved heavenly object usually appears brighter and larger.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

2 Germans, a Spaniard and a Senegalese Killed in Building Collapse in Spain’s Mallorca Island

MADRID (AP) — Spain's National Police on Friday gave details on four people killed when a building housing a bar and restaurant club collapsed on the island of Mallorca.

AUSTIN, Texas  — Families in Uvalde took more legal action Friday on the second anniversary of the Robb Elementary School attack, suing Meta Platforms, which owns Instagram, and the maker of the video game “Call of Duty” over claims the companies bear responsibility for products used by the teenage gunman.

ATHENS - The head of the tax office in Chalkida, Evia and another staff member were detained on Friday after testifying over charges of corruption.

TEL AVIV, Israel  — Egypt said Friday it has agreed to send U.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.