San Giovanni del Toro

Ravello, Italy

Consecrated in the 11th century, the San Giovanni del Toro church was restored in 1715 after damage caused by an earthquake, and it was restored again in the 1990s. The church is named for John the Apostle and for 'Il Toro', the former name of the old aristocratic quarter in which it was built. It is especially noted for its pulpit, dating from around the 13th century.

The pulpit is notable for its mosaics, the decorative patterns of which inspired the interlocking patterns used by M.C. Escher, who spent time in Ravello in the 1920s and studied the church and the pulpit; Ravello was one of his favorite places. One mosaic is of Jonahe merging from the whale. An eagle supports the reading desk, and it holds a book opened to the first sentence of the Gospel of John. The 'beautiful' pulpit, which dates from the time of Roger I of Sicily, also contains Oriental pottery and Arabic script, and the steps up to it contain well-preserved frescoes with scenes from the life of Christ. There is a side chapel with a stucco figure of Saint Catherine and her wheel.



Your name


Founded: 11th century
Category: Religious sites in Italy

More Information


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Vic Garcia (2 years ago)
Beautiful rustic church on top of Ravello. My brother got married here last week & stunning altar.
Elisa Gava Williams (2 years ago)
The church where the nobility of medieval Ravello met. The facade of the church is very simple in the shape of a hut with the bell tower to the left. It opens on request.
Daniele Maria Sacchi (2 years ago)
The church of San Giovanni del Toro is located in the Municipality of Ravello on the slopes of the magnificent Amalfi coast of Salerno. The small and charming place of worship was unfortunately closed at the time of the tour of the quaint town. From the information acquired locally we have been told that usually, for the visit to the church, it is necessary to contact the parish priest who generally makes himself available.
Media Salerno Project (4 years ago)
Church of S. Giovanni del Toro S. Giovanni del Toro Historical News 1018 - XII (foundation and consecration of the entire property) The church was founded in 1018 by the noble families of Ravello (Rogadeo, Pironti, Muscettola and others), who lived in the Toro district. These families took care of its construction and enriched the church with donations in the following period. The church was defined as "caput et mater aliarum ecclesiarum parochialum civitatis". Therefore it was the parish seat. Description The monumental complex of San Giovanni del Toro is located in the heart of the Toro district, the Ancient Center of Ravello, reserved for the nobles of the city, a few steps from the ancient Rocca del Belvedere. Overall, it shows itself as a very valuable example of Romanesque architecture with strong Arab-Norman influences. The sacred building has a longitudinal plan, with three naves (of which the central one is much higher than the side ones), covered by trusses and cross vaults, a transept surmounted by a dome on a high drum, three extrados apses, each of which has a single lancet window, and crypt. The main apse opens with an ogival arch and has two small columns with capitals at the jambs. The naves are divided by round arches on monolithic granite columns, with Corinthian capitals (bare); above them rise the high walls of the central nave, in which single-lancet windows open in line with the arches below. The spans of the side aisles also have mullioned windows on the side walls. The naves are inserted into the transept by means of a transverse wall, which forms a triumphal pointed arch in the center resting on the composite pillars placed at the entrance to the presbytery. In correspondence with this connection are the stairs (made up of five steps) that lead from the aisles to the raised transept. The sober façade is divided into three parts and ended with sloping at the top; it has three portals and a central lancet window. The bell tower, the sacristy and some annexed chapels, which rise on the left side of the church, complete the architectural complex.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kastelholma Castle

First record of Kastelholma (or Kastelholm) castle is from the year 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to the queen. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was administrated by Danish and Swedish kings and stewards of the realms. Kastelhoma was expanded and enhanced several times.

In the end of 16th century castle was owned by the previous queen Catherine Jagellon (Stenbock), an enemy of the King of Sweden Eric XIV. King Eric conquered Kastelholma in 1599 and all defending officers were taken to Turku and executed. The castle was damaged under the siege and it took 30 years to renovate it.

In 1634 Åland was joined with the County of Åbo and Björneborg and Kastelholma lost its administrative status.