The Baptistery of San Giovanni, built in the late 12th-early 13th centuries over the original edifice of the 7th – 9th centuries, is the oldest religious building in the town of Varese.
The exterior of the building displays a Gothic shrine with a 14th century statue of St John the Baptist, but also has Romanesque features such as the characteristic gabled façade crowned with Lombard bands.
The interior is decorated with a major cycle of frescoes, the most interesting of which are a late 13th century “Madonna del Latte” (Virgin of the Milk), and a “Crucifixion” and “Mary and the Child with two people praying” in Gothic style.
Excavation work has revealed an octagonal baptismal font dating from the 7th-8th centuries, which makes it possible to attribute the Baptistery to the first Lombard period. A basin set on top of the font, decorated with pictures of saints and the Baptism of Christ, dates from the 14th century.
Open on request.