The Church of San Giovanni and Santa Reparata is a church located in Piazza San Giovanni, in Lucca, about 100 meters away from the Cathedral of San Martino, and about the same distance from Piazza Napoleone and the Ducal Palace.
The church was built in the 5th century on the site of a Roman settlement, and was the Cathedral of Lucca until the 8th century, when the role passed to the nearby Church of San Martino. However, after the change, the baptismal font was kept in the Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata, and the two holy places remained inseparably linked.
In the 12th century, a new edifice replaced the old church. The new church, with three naves supported by columns with composite capitals, with apse and transept, wasn’t so different from the early Christian structure.
The baptistery was also rebuilt in the 12th century, but the most important renovation works were made in 1393, when it was covered with an ogival dome.
Starting with the end of the 16th century and throughout the first two decades of the following century, a new renovation was carried out. During this time, the new facade was built, reusing for the most part the medieval one. Inside, the coffered ceiling and the decoration of the apsidal basin, where Paolo Guidotti frescoed the Annunciazione con l’Eterno e Angeli (Annunciation with the Eternal and Angels), belonged to the same phase.
At the end of the 17th century, the Chapel of Sant’Ignazio, one of the most interesting Baroque structures in Lucca, was built on the left side of the church, on a project by Domenico Martinelli. The chapel was entirely covered in polychrome marble, with frescos attributed to Ippolito Marracci, depicting the Glory of Saint Ignatius.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the church was transformed into a library, and was almost completely deprived of its furniture. However, soon it was revealed that the church it wasn’t suitable for the new function due to serious problems of humidity. Starting with 1828, the structure was used again as a church, with new altars and new paintings.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata is located about 750 meters away from the Lucca railway station, and about 180 meters away from the closest bus stop, San Girolamo, reachable with the buses 5, LAM Blu and LAM Verde.