The Romanesque-Gothic monument designed by Antelami
A place designated for the Catholic rite of baptism, its construction began in 1196. It was designed almost entirely by Benedetto Antelami. This information is recorded in an inscription on the architrave of the north entrance - it reads “Bis binis demptis de Mille Ducentis/incepit dictus opus hoc Benedictus,” “Four years before the year Twelve Hundred, this work was begun by (the man) called Benedictus.” Octagonal in shape, it develops vertically similar to a truncated tower, and is finished in pink marble. It is one of the most representative monuments of the transition from late Romanesque to early Gothic. This is also evident from Benedetto Antelami's sculptures in particular the zoophorus and the portals carved with representations reflecting salvation through baptism. The sculptures inside the building, known as the "Cycle of the Months," representing the months and seasons are also worth mentioning. Sixteen ribs duplicate the facades inside the structure, converging in the "umbrella"-shaped dome. At the center of the interior space there is the large baptismal font, also octagonal in shape, a symbol of Eternity.