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.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.