The Baptistery is the most important and fully executed example of medieval architecture in Italy. Construction of the baptistery began in 1196, based on an octagonal floor plan and using pink Verona marble.
Benedetto Antelami designed the building and the admirable sculptures in the three exterior doorways and the lunettes.
He is also responsible for the highly symbolic allegorical sculptures of the months of the year.
The vault was painted in the 13th century with a series of images that circle around the figure of the Baptist.
The Baptistery was fully restored between 1988 and 1991 thanks to the Cassa di Risparmio di Parma, a local bank. In 1996, the baptistery celebrated its 800th anniversary.
The Bishop’s Palace
Bishop Cadalo also commissioned the construction of the Bishop’s Palace.
Bishop Grazia, however, was responsible for finishing the job and adding the façade. At the beginning of the 16th century, further changes were made to the building.
The façade was leveled out, the mullioned windows were reduced to a rectangular shape and the terracotta entablature was completed. The current appearance of the palace is the result of 20th century restorations that brought back the building’s original character and eliminated the 18th century embellishments.
Inside the palace, you will find a beautiful Renaissance courtyard. At the center, there is a working well that was made out of a piece of Roman stonework that came from the Ducal Palace of Colorno.