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Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista
Diocesi di Torino ( sec. IV; XVII )
Piazza San Giovanni - 10100 Torino
The construction of the building, attributed to Bishop Maximus, dates from the late 4th–early 5th century. The plan featured a complex of three adjoining Christian basilicas. The free-standing campanile, which can still be seen today, was erected next to the Salvatore Basilica in 1470, commissioned by Bishop Jean de Compeys of Annecy, whose crest is visible on one of its façades. In 1490, Cardinal Domenico Della Rovere dei Signori di Vinovo, appointed Bishop of Turin, commenced the demolition of the three ancient basilicas and the construction of a new building. The project was entrusted to the architect and sculptor Amedeo da Settignano. The result was a church with clear geometric forms, a Latin cross basilica plan, an entirely vaulted ceiling and two aisles separated from the nave by piers. An octagonal crossing tower rises above the junction of the nave and transept. A series of alternating hexagonal and semicircular chapels are carved out of the side walls. The cathedral is clad with stone from the Bussoleno quarries, giving it the pale hue that distinguishes it so clearly from other buildings in Turin. The most important work on the cathedral, following its construction, was the chapel of the Holy Shroud, designed by Guarino Guarini to house and protect the holy relic, and built in 1668. The elevated chapel with circular plan has massive arches supporting a circular drum, surmounted by a pierced conical vault formed by overlapping arches, and topped by a cupola with pinnacle. The funerary monuments of four ancestors of the Savoy dynasty were positioned at the base by Charles Albert in the 19th century. The precious Baroque altar housing the famous relic takes pride of place in the centre of the chapel.
Visitors are greeted by the great white marble façade of the cathedral, divided into a nave and two aisles. The right aisle has a number of separate chapels. The first of these is the chapel of Saint Mary Major and dates from the mid-15th century. The two side chapels are dedicated to Saint Joachim and Saint Anne. Unlike the other one, they were designed in 1863, by Tamone. They are followed by the chapel of the Nativity, with a simple but handsome carved wooden altar. On the sides are the mausoleums of the Archbishops of Turin during the period 1642–89. Before the fifth chapel we can see the tomb of Cardinal Giuseppe Gamba, Archbishop of Turin during the 1920s. The sixth and last chapel is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, whose figure dominates the icon painted by Morgari in 1862. The chancel, beneath the octagonal dome that illuminates the transept, is accessed via four steps leading from the nave beyond the triumphal arch. It is fitted with the main liturgical furnishings made in bronze by the sculptor Mario Rudelli and consecrated for worship on 14 November 2004 by Cardinal Severino Poletto: Verona marble altar, pulpit and cathedra. At the beginning of the left aisle is an altar dedicated to Saint Luke, decorated in Neoclassical style around the middle of the 19th century. It is followed by the chapel of the Resurrection, depicted on the wooden panel at its centre by the painter Giacomo Rossignolo in 1575, while the elegant marble decoration dates from 1727. The canvas in the third chapel is dedicated to Saints Hippolytus and Cassian. The fourth chapel, which enjoys the patronage of the Corporation of Blacksmiths and Goldsmiths, has a canvas depicting Saint Aegidius. It is followed by the chapel dedicated to Saint Maximus and Saint Anthony. The icon was made around the mid-17th century by Casella da Lugano, who also painted the two frescoes on the side walls depicting Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Juvenal. The last chapel of the aisle houses the baptistery, built in Neoclassical style in 1852 and protected by an iron railing made in 1630.
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The building may be visited at the times indicated unless a religious function is in progress
- Cattedrale di Torino
- type of building
- Piazza San Giovanni - 10100 Torino
- food venue
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