Italiano

Church of St. John the Baptist Virtual Tour

The idea of building a Church in the fields but visible and accessible from the highway came to Eng. Fedele Cova, founder of the Società Autostrade. The site had to be particular: halfway between Milan and Naples so Florence was chosen and in 1964 the Church of Saint John the Baptist were inaugurated. It was built between 1960 and 1963 on a project by Giovanni Michelucci. The materials used are stone and concrete for the walls, oxidized green copper for the roof. Marble, glass and bronze are used for the interior elements. This church is also called the Church of the Freeway of the Sun for its location between the Autostrada del Sole A1 (Freeway of the Sun) and the A11 (Firenze-Mare Highway).
The design of the Church has traditional and modern elements: the first are the cross floor plan and the stone facing; the second are the roof conceived as a tent and the copper used to cover it. The linking of the spaces, the “tent” under which peoples can gather, and the lack of affectation in the use of materials (stone for the walls, white cement, and copper for the roof) combine to give the church a profoundly spiritual atmosphere.

“..This church is a small city, a modular space in which people, as they meet, should realize that they share common interests and a common hope, that of finding themselves...” Giovanni Michelucci

Florence 360°: Panoramas of the Church of St. John

FLORENCE 360° … CHURCH of the HIGHWAY

entrance to the church of saint john

Entrance to the Church designed by the Pistoiese architect Giovanni Michelucci

The Church of St. John the Baptist was designed by the italian architect Giovanni Michelucci with an extraordinary sense of space. The form is like a tent as to evoke the passage of pilgrims.

michelucci church of saint john

North side of the Church with the walls of visible stone

In the narthex on the left side there are 5 concrete panels of with 10 bronze bas-relief depicting the patron Saints of the cities touched by the highway: St. Ambrose for Milan, St. Petronio in Bologna, St. John the Baptist in Florence, the SS. Peter and Paul in Rome, and San Gennaro in Naples.

saint john along the freeway of the sun

West side of the Church along the “Autostrada del Sole”

The Church was built between 1960 and 1963 on a design by Giovanni Michelucci. The building plan seems not linked to the shape of the covering, which is made of reinforced concrete and copper.

South Side of the Church of the Highway

South Side of the Church of the Highway

The covering is set on a fluid space and resembles a large tent. The structure, in part consisting of visible stone, wants to suggest a natural element, as the use of the light filtering in the inside.

East Side of the Church designed by the italian architect Giovanni Michelucci

East Side of the Church designed by the italian architect Giovanni Michelucci

On the Parvis a memorial slab, a single block of marble, with an inscription commemorates the workers who died during construction of the freeway. The coppered roof, as mentioned, has the shape of the tent, and the whole construction is soft, even the colour of the stone used, pink and carved by hand.

The Nartex with the bronze sculptures church of the highway

The Narthex with the bronze sculptures

In the bronze portal we find the representation of the "Crossing of the Red Sea" and the "Journey of the Magi" by Pericle Fazzini; there are also represented the stories of the patrons of the towns along the highway, engraved by Emilio Greco e Venanzio Crocetti.

Entrance to the wide nave of the Church

Entrance to the wide nave of the Church

The Church of Saint John the Baptist offers spaces and pathways that will meet the visitors' needs; secluded spots if they wish to be alone and open spaces if they wish to be with others.

In front of the main altar in the middle of the nave saint john

In front of the main altar in the middle of the nave

The linking of the spaces, the roof, which was conceived as a tent under which peoples can gather, and the materials used (stone for the walls, white cement, and copper for the roof) combine to give the church a profoundly spiritual atmosphere.

zona destra navata chiesa michelucci

Altar at the right of the wide nave of the Church

The building's floor plan is asymmetrical and follows sinuous curves, creating a feeling of fluid space. In the area to the right of the nave near one of the two minor altars there are two small passages at the sides of the altar from which you can reach the narthex.

360° Panoramas by Simona Bartolomei

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Church of the Highway • Giovanni Michelucci

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navata al centro della chiesa di san giovanni battista

Nave near the main Altar

Church of St. John the Baptist • Florence

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Church of St. John the Baptist

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