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  Logic Path: Home Page >> The Secrets >> Il ponte del Battistero

Il ponte del Battistero

The Baptistry also had an aerial route,as antique testimonies proove,that connected it to the house of canons and to the bishop's residence;it was made for reasons of security and comfort.This was a difficult time to live n and these passages,far away from from the risks of the streets and of rebellions,where very frequently used.The flying bridges,that were cast from one tower to another in the labirinth of the city,served the same puyrpose.In short,there was an alernative and intricate "road network",raised in the air. The foot-bridge of the Baptistry allowed the bishop,the prelates and the clergymen to get in through the little door situated on the north side next to the apse and to reach the women's gallery and down to the floor level.. In the middle of the temple was the octagonal baptisimal font,within it a square basin.It was destroyed on 1576 on the occasion of the solemn christening of Don Filippo de' Medici,first son of the Grand Duke Francesco the Ist.The Romanesque font of "il bel San Giovanni" was the one described by Dante Alighieri.There are still some remains of it in the underground passages of the Baptistry.Thanks to the excavations of the years 1912-1915,the solid wall of the foundation and the water-pipes were found:one of the pipes took the water to the font,the other took it away. . The first-a lead conduit-communicated with the roof gutter,"so the font was supplied with pure rain-water".The other was a terracota conduit covered by stones joined with slaked lime.Enormous quantities of water passed through these pipes every year,until christening was done by "imersiion".During the thirteenth century though,the rite of infusion was largely used.It is likely that the "battezzatori",which are amphoras containing what was strictly necessary for ceremonies,and which were situated in the dry font,were being used already.. Anyhow,when the old pipes went out of use,they took with them an ncredible quantity of memories:through them flowed thwt same water which had christened generations of Florentines and a big piece of history.


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