A treasure chest of precious works along Via Francigena
Part of a medieval monastic complex built along the ancient Via Francigena, the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista in Parma dates to the early 13th century and has a Romanesque Latin cross layout, although its Baroque façade is what first strikes visitors.
Six chapels open onto three naves. The frieze of the Jewish and Pagan Sacrifice, designed by Correggio and created by Rondani, runs in the central one. Also by Correggio are the decorations of the hemi-pillars, the sub-arch of the fifth chapel, St. Paul falling from his horse, the decorations of the cross vault and the dome with Vision of St. John the Evangelist on Patmos and Church Fathers and the Evangelists in the pendentives. The left aisle displays early works by Parmigianino, while the wooden choir is by M. Zucchi and the Testa brothers, Gianfranco and Pasquale.
On the right side of the church, the bell tower from 1613 is clearly visible. The Benedictine complex also includes three cloisters, the first with light Ionic columns, the second accessed from the chapter house, where two frescoes by Correggio are kept, and the third known as Di San Benedetto, with 16th-century frescoes. Wall decorations of the Library of St. John, containing about 20,000 volumes, including illuminated manuscripts from the 15th and 16th centuries are of the same period.