San Giovanni ad Insulam
The entrance portal is surmounted by a round arch, supported by square stones with low-relief sculptures, especially zoomorphic figures typical of the early Middle Ages: strange lions, dragons, griphons, doves, are also to be found inside the church, creating an almost spectral atmosphere.
The low-reliefs are important for correctly dating the church. It seems they were already in place in 1080, while after that date the portal was made (about mid-13th century), possibly after an earthquake that destroyed the original portal, as well as the attached monastery, whose ruins are still to be seen outside the church. To a much later date belongs the belltower, also probably built on the remains of a previous building.
A very peculiar presbyterium (which was the area in the early Christian temple reserved to those who already had received baptism) is placed on a higher level, connected to the lower part of the church by six steps, which is built over a large square crypt which occupies two-thirds of the building. The crypt existed probably before the church was built, and may belong to the early centuries of the Christian era.
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