The San Giovanni in Fonte Church is located next to the Cathedral of Verona. This small sanctuary was used for centuries as a Baptistery for the Duomo and its main attraction is a 12th century baptismal font decorated with reliefs depicting the life of Jesus.
San Giovanni in Fonte Church Verona
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
Address: Piazza Duomo, 21 – 37121 Verona. (The entrance is behind the Duomo, in the Piazzetta del Vescovado, however.) Telephone: +39 045592813. Opening Hours: From 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Sundays and public holidays from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The exit below the Cathedral organ leads to a complex of semi-decayed buildings from the 9th to the 12th century. From here an atrium leads to the San Giovanni in Fonte Church.
The church was originally built in Lombard times. A complete renovation took place in 1123. This was necessary, because the Baptistery had been all but destroyed by an earthquake in 1117.
Until the Napoleonic era, San Giovanni in Fonte served as a parish church.
At the beginning of the 21st century the church was restored again.
The tuff stone facade is characterized by a hanging protiro, with a 12th century painting of the Madonna. On the sides, the tuff stone is alternated by stripes of brick in different colors.
The interior consists of three naves. The capitals crowning the columns and pillars that separate the naves mostly date back to the 8th and 9th centuries. One pillar even dates back to the 6th century.
Every nave ends in an apse. The central nave is slightly longer. The apse ends in the courtyard of the Palazzo del Vescovado.
What to see
The famous baptismal font occupies a central position inside the church. It is made of an entire block of red marble and is decorated with bas-reliefs on the theme of Jesus’ childhood. The octagonal work of art has a diameter of almost three metres. All but two of the formelle are made by Brioloto.
The frescoes date from the 14th and 15th centuries. One of these paintings has been moved to the centre of the right nave.
There is also a painting by the local artist Paolo Farinati (1524-1606), depicting the “Baptism of Christ”. Other paintings were made by Michelangelo Prunati (“Madonna with Child”) and by an anonymous artist (“Madonna with San Domenico and John the Baptist”). Prunati (1690-1756) was also born and died in Verona.