The Baptistery and the Duomo
The Baptistery (Battistero) is in front of the Duomo. It is likely the oldest building in Florence. A first octogonal baptistery was erected near the Duomo in the late 4th or early 5th century. The Battistero has eight equal sides, a symbol for the eternal life given through baptism. Many respectable citizens were baptized here. One of them was the Italian poet writer Dante.
The bronze doors in the Baptistery are very famous: they are decorated with panels crafted by Lorenzo Ghiberti. It took him 21 years to complete the ‘North Doors’ and 27 years for the ‘East Doors’. The East doors have scenes from the Old Testament. They were considered as the finest masterpieces ever that Michelangelo called them the “Gates of Paradise”. The ‘South Doors’ were created by Andrea Pisano. The original doors “Gates of Paradise” were removed into the museum and replaced by reproductions.