The Beautiful Baptistery in Parma, Italy
Staying in Parma for 90-days allowed us to view the Baptistery of Parma many times. It is located beside the Cathedral and is one of the greatest examples of art in Italy. This octagonal monument, made of Verona marble with four tiers of open loggias (the open wall to the elements) topped by a row of blind arches and crowing pinnacles, is certainly the most outstanding example of the transition from Romanesque to Gothic art in Italy.
Benedetto Antelami supervised its construction and executed almost all the decorative sculptures. In the interior are the notable sculptures by Benedetto Antalami depicting the Months, Seasons, and the Signs of Zodiac.
Above the altar, in the semi-dome, is a Christ in Glory surrounded by the symbols of the four evangelists and two angels. The inside contains sixteen arches, forming alcoves each containing a painted scene. All these are 13th and 14th-century frescoes and paintings. The most striking part of the Baptistery, however, is its painted domed ceiling. Sixteen rays come out of the center of the ceiling, which each correspond to the arches.
However, problems were posed over time as the paintings were not true frescoes. The paint would start to come off the walls and would be literally hanging on. Due to this, the Baptistery had to be painstakingly consolidated and restored with syringes and spatulas.