The Complex of Arsago Seprio
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The church of San Vittore, the bell tower and the baptistery of San Giovanni are three buildings collected together in a sort of small field of miracles in the Romanic style. The basilica, of uncertain dating between the 9th and 12th centuries, rises up on top of an older construction, from the 5th-6th centuries, whose fragments are visible from outside the apse.
The tower, whose original belfry was walled-up in 1872 when the bells were placed on the curious overhanging terrace, preserves, at mid-height, a votive commemorative stone to Jupiter, set in the corner in the north-west pilaster. The Archaeology Museum (Viale Vanoni 1 tel. +39 0331 768222, open Saturday 3pm-6pm and Sunday 10am-12pm and 3pm-6pm) displays exhibits from the prehistoric era to the Longobard era.
In the area in front, as well as the lapidary, the Longobard necropolis is of great interest. Located opposite, and very close to the church of San Vittore, the baptistery of San Giovanni at Arsago is a splendid example of this type of religious building. It dates back to around the middle of the 12th century and has an octagonal shape with two doors opposite one another.
It is surmounted by a short tower with sixteen sides with small arches and circular windows. The baptistery has within it eight niches, of which those facing east contain an altar deriving from a Roman cinerary. In the adjacent niche, on the right, seven Roman epigraphs (1st-4th century) are preserved, while in the subsequent niche, next to the southern door, there is an historic Roman memorial stone.
A great deal of other reused material is found in the women’s gallery. The objects which are most easily recognisable are a milestone and a votive altar, both used as columns. The ancient tub for baptism is preserved, which was reached by climbing three steps, only two of which are remaining. The building is closed by a hemispheric vaulted dome in the oriental style. There is an oddity in the anomalous window present on the eastern side of the building, cut diagonally and probably designed to allow a view of the morning star at dawn following Easter night, when the Catechumens were baptised.
Baptist is open on Saturday and Sunday, on request other days.