A Greek word derived from Latin baptisterĭum, which arrived in Spanish as baptistery. This is the name of the site where the baptismal font: the stone or the container that is used in the administration of the sacrament called baptism.
The notion is also used to directly name this stone and to edifice near a temple that, in ancient times, was used to administer baptism.
To understand what a baptistery is, in short, you have to understand the notion of baptism. This is how the first sacrament which is administered in numerous Christian Churches and which marks the entry of the one who receives it into the community of the faithful. Baptism usually consists of pouring a little water on the head of the person being baptized.
The baptistery, in this setting, may be the baptismal font (the container that contains the Water in question), the sector where this element is found or the construction that is destined to carry out baptisms.
In the latter case, the baptisteries are small temples that are usually located next to other larger ones or that can even be inside. Until the XVII century used to be independent buildings, although later they began to be integrated into the churches.
Within the list of baptisteries located in Italy, it is possible to establish a classification according to their shape and design, as can be seen below:
* octagonal baptisteries: like those of Parma, Bergamo, Milan, Cremona, Verona and Ravenna;
* from plant quatrefoil: the baptistery of the city of Biella, in the Piedmont region;
* circular plan: those of Pisa and Nocera Superior;
* flat hexagonal: those of Siena and Aquilea.
A example of baptistery is the Baptistery of San Juan, which is in the Duomo Square from the Italian city of Florence. In this place, which has been classified as a minor basilica, the poet was baptized Dante Alighieri.
The Baptistery of San Juan is also well known for its three groups of bronze doors, which have an incalculable artistic value. In addition to the aforementioned poet, all Florentine Catholics born up to the 19th century were baptized in this building.
For many decades, various scholars supported the idea that the Baptistery of Saint John had originally been a Roman temple built in honor to the God Mars, the entity that guarded ancient Florence. Although this idea was attributed to Dante Alighieri, it was actually proposed by the historian Giovanni Villani.
On the other hand is the Baptistery of Saint John built in the French city of Poitiers in the 4th century. So far it is considered the oldest of the Christian monuments; in fact, there aren’t many others that still look the way they did in the epoch Merovingian, which took place from the 5th to the 8th century.
At first, the Baptistery of Poitiers it was a Roman house; It was demolished in 276, and its central part was built on its foundations, almost a century later. In 507, as a result of the damage caused by the Visigoths during their occupation, the process of restoration.
The Baptistery of Pisa It is also very popular today. Its construction began in 1152 and lasted more than two centuries. Statistics indicate that, within the independent baptisteries, it is the most internationally recognized. The baptistery active until 1152 was quite smaller in size, and the new one was erected to replace it. It should be noted that the cathedral was built first and, once the baptistery was finished, work began on the tower.