CATHEDRAL OF TURIN SAN GIOVANNI BATTISTA
In the year 1490 the Bishop of Turin, Cardinal Domenico della Rovere decided to tear down the three early Christian churches dedicated to San Salvatore, Santa Maria de Dompno and San Giovanni Battista, the most important and the last to be demolished. His desire was to build a new basilica on the ruins of the pre-existing temples, at his expense and which would attest to his affection for the city of Turin.
The first stone of the Turin Cathedral was laid by the Duchess Bianca di Monferrato, widow of Charles I of Savoy and regent for her son Carlo Giovanni Amedeo di Savoia, on 22 July 1491.The work was entrusted to Amedeo de Francisco di Settignano, better known with the name of Mastro Meo del Caprino but it is not clear whose project of the church is. Some scholars attribute the design to Baccio Pontelli, others to Meo del Caprino himself, in fact there are no documents that clearly certify the authorship of the project.
The works ended in 1498 as evidenced by the epigraph placed in front of the church and the consecration took place on September 20, 1505 and was already erected as a Metropolitan Cathedral in 1515.The facade of the Turin Cathedral, the last example of the Renaissance in Turin, is completely covered in white Bussoleno marble, a garland, symbol of the Della Rovere family, is clearly visible on the doorposts.
The church has a Latin cross plan, two rows of columns divide the church into three naves. On the sides of the aisles there are numerous chapels important for the works contained in them. The nave ends with the large chapel of the Crucifix with the vault completely covered in gold and adorned with marble on the walls. The Crucifix is the work of Borelli, while the wooden sculptures that surround the cross, the Eternal Father, the Virgin Mary and St. John are by Stefano Maria Clemente.
On the sides two imposing statues representing Santa Teresa and Santa Cristina by the famous Parisian sculptor Pierre Legros. Made for the facade of the church of Santa Cristina, they were destined for the Cathedral for their astonishing beauty (according to some, to spare them from the incursions of French troops).
Above the chapel of the Crucifix, the completely gilded choir stalls where the Savoy and Della Rovere coats of arms stand out on top of the organ.
On the internal facade of the entrance there is one of the best authentic copies of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper made by Luigi Cagna, while on the sides of the entrance portal there are, on the right, the Mausoleum of Giovanna d'Orlier and some finds dating back to to the medieval equipment of the cathedral, including an archangel Michael dated 1480.On the right side outside the Basilica and inside the Diocesan Museum it is still possible to see the ancient remains of the three early Christian churches demolished to make room for the current Basilica. The bell tower of the Turin Cathedral is still entirely original, built by Bishop Giovanni De Compey dating back to the 15th century.
The cathedral of Turin underwent the most important expansion in the second half of the seventeenth century with the construction of the Guarini Chapel built to house the Holy Shroud.
THE BELL OF THE CATHEDRAL
The tower of the Turin Cathedral dates back to the 15th century when Bishop Giovanni De Compey decided to subsidize the construction of a new tower near the early Christian churches of Santa Maria, San Giovanni Battista and San Salvatore.
The three churches made up the bishop's complex of the City of Turin and were to be demolished in 1491 to make way for the construction of the Cathedral of San Giovanni.
The construction of the Turin Cathedral incorporates the new tower commissioned by the bishop, transforming it into the bell tower of the new church through an underground passage that still joins the two structures today.
To have the current form, it is necessary to wait until 1720 when the architect Filippo Juvarra plans the completion of the work and the construction of a dome. The works began in 1722 but were suspended shortly after and only the belfry was completed.
The bell tower thus took on the appearance we still know today: the belfry plastered with stone and stucco artefacts and the Romanesque lower part in terracotta with the coat of arms and a white marble plaque in memory of the work of Bishop De Compey.
The latest restoration by the architects Maurizio and Chiara Momo allowed the safety of the entire tower and the possibility of climbing up to the belfry to admire our city of Turin at about 60 meters high.
With the arrival of the Holy Shroud in the city of Turin in 1578, it became a priority for the Savoy to prepare a suitable arrangement for the Holy Shroud.
Duke Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy, anxious to see the most important Christian relic honorably placed, almost immediately dismissed the idea of having a saint built