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:
The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.