Battistero Giovanni ad Fontes Interior, Font DetailSt. John the Baptist Baptistery Interior, Font Detail
Cioffi, Paul L., 1928-2004
Lomello, in the province of Pavia, Lombardy, in northwestern Italy, is an ancient settlement. One of the oldest baptisteries in Lombardy, the Baptistery of San Giovanni ad Fontes was erected there on a Roman burial site. Built between the 5th C. (lowest portions) and the 7th C. (the upper portion was rebuilt during the 8th C.; the baptistery was last restored in 1941), the octagonal structure has alternating semi-circular and rectangular niches which create an essentially cruciform footprint. The building center rises above the roof line of the niches in an octagonal shape. Eight arched windows, one on each wall of the octagon, provide light for the space within. A small lantern tops the baptistery. The font is 7th C. Lombard, an irregular hexagon about 2 meters wide. It was constructed for the rite of immersion then later adapted for the rite of sprinkling. (The practice of baptism by immersion was abandoned in Italy around the 6th C.) Traces of the original painting decoration are still visible on the font, including geometric designs, the figure of a cross and fragments of inscriptions. ca. July 1991
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