The San Giovanni Battista Cathedral is the only renaissance church in the center of Turin and the most important church of the city. It is here that the famous Shroud of Turin is preserved.
San Giovanni Battista Cathedral Turin
Address: Via XX Settembre 87 – 10122 Torino. Phone: +39 011 4361540. Opening times: From 10.00 till 12.30 and from 16.00 till 19.00; Saturdays from 09.00 till 13.00 and from 15.00 till 19.30; Sundays from 08.00 till 13.00 and from 15.00 till 19.30: . Ticket price: 5 Euros (discount: 3,50 Euros).
History and description
The present Duomo is located on a site where there used to be three early Christian churches, the San Salvatore, the Santa Maria di Dompno and the San Giovanni Battista. These churches were probably also built on pre-existing pagan temples. It was not until the end of the 6th century that the cathedral was finally dedicated to John the Baptist by King Agilulfo.
The three main churches of the city were demolished between 1490 and 1492. However, the bell tower, which had only just been built (1469) remained standing and can still be seen next to the Cathedral.
On July 22, 1491 the first stone of the new cathedral was laid. The first architect was Francisco da Settignano, who worked on it until his death in 1501. In 1505 the cathedral was completed and it was consecrated.
In 1649, the cathedral was enlarged to provide a more appropriate setting for the Shroud. Projects by Carlo di Castellamonte and Bernardino Quadri were not successful and finally Guarino Guarino was commissioned to complete the work in 1666. in 1694 the work was finished. The majestic dome of the cathedral was also added by Guarino.
The bell tower was raised 12 meters to 60 meters in 1720 by the architect Juvarra.
What to see
Behind the altar of the nave is a painted reproduction of the Cappella della Sindone of Bertola. Both the altar itself and the chapel were badly damaged in the 1997 fire.
On the inside of the façade you can see a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” made by Luigi Cagna in 1835. It was the only place to hang the more than 900-kilogram canvas.
Holy Shroud (Sacra Sindone)
The Tribuna Reale (“Royal Tribune”) was created by the architect Simone Rodriguez. Below this tribune is the theca where the Sacra Sindone is kept. The “Holy Shroud” can however not be seen.
After the fire, a new theca for the Shroud was made. The underground part of the church was also immediately restored to its former state in order to house the Diocesan Museum of Torino.