St. Giovanni Church

Brindisi, Italy

The temple of St. Giovanni (Saint John Sepulchre), known also as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is a circular construction built towards the end of the 11th century by the Normans over the pre-existent church. It is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in all Southern Italy. During the 12th century a new portal was opened, which today is the main entrance to the church. It has an architrave made from marble which is supported by two columns which rest on two lions made from marble as well.

This church was hold by the Order of Holy Sepulcher (Templars Knights) and subsequently by the Knights Hospitaller (also known as Knights of Rhodes, Knights of Malta, the Order of St John of Jerusalem).

The interior of the church is in the shape of a 'horse shoe' with eight columns in concentric circle within. This design is in memory of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.The original vaulted roof has been replaced by a new wood roof. On the walls there are fresco paintings from the 12th-15th centuries.

After the restorations necessary to bring the church back to use after it was almost destroyed by earth quakes, it was used as a museum from the years 1850 to 1955. It was a centre of cultural meetings attended by illustrious personalities such as Mahatma Gandhi and the famous Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore.

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Founded: 1099
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Maya Miftahova (35 days ago)
Lovely tiny place with nice garden outside
Dejan Braki (6 months ago)
This is a very small Church set in the very center of old town Brindisi. It was built in the 11c by a Norman prince who returned from the Crusade. Right away, it became a pilgrimage praying place for those heading to Holy Land and thanking place for those who returned safe. The Church has a circular layout, modeled after the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem with 8 columns inside and 13 c frescoes
Tom Berger (11 months ago)
Finally, a historic site of importance in Italy that has ample opening hours, a reasonable entrance fee and allows you to take photos. Please more of this. Also, wonderful, unique building!
Dario Dell'anna (3 years ago)
Beautifull circular temple based on a Roman Domus. A lot of Curiosity and mistery yo discover on it. You need also to visit "ospitale del turista" a shop full of the Best Brindisinian products. Top
J EG (3 years ago)
An amazing experience that I highly recommend to all those who love history. The place is a priceless historical jewel enriched with many amazing human stories engraved in every inch of the building. At first I entered and besides appreciating the old building I couldn't understand its meaning. I asked the gentleman from whom I bought the ticket (€3) if he could give me some information. After helping some other tourists he came to me. I thought that maybe he was going to tell me a sentence or two. But this gentleman explained to me all the history from the time it was built in 1743 till the last additions to the ceiling that were recently added. He related such an amazing story with so much passion that I was feeling transported away to the times of the templars who built this place to pray before leaving for Jerusalem. He explained about the columns, their alignment, why one seems to be inclined, the three different layers of frescoes and what they show, how they used to be painted on fresh Mata, the doors, the altar, the engraved signs on the outside walls, the mosaic flooring and everything else. I am so grateful to this gentleman. I thank him as he truly made my visit an amazing one.
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