Portal of the culture of the Municipality of Pesaro
Chiesa di san Giovanni BattistaChurch of san Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist)
Saturday 17 February 2018

Church of san Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist)

Chiesa di san Giovanni Battista

The church and convent have always belonged to the Friars Minor Conventual (dell’Osservanza). The present church stands where Alessandro Sforza commissioned  it as a family mausoleum. It was demolished in 1536 to make room for the walls commissioned by Duke Francesco Maria I Della Rovere.

The complex was rebuilt in 1543; the architects were Girolamo Genga (d.1551), followed by his son Bartolomeo (d.1558). The slow rate of the work, which continued until 1656, was due not only to the Duke’s chronic lack of funds but also to the friars’ resistance to the grandeur of the design, which contrasted with their vote of poverty.

The façade and external side walls thus remained unfinished, though the building retained its monumental value. The interior, on a Latin cross plan, was mainly restructured during the seventeenth century. In 1729 four of the nine altars were demolished to restore balance to the spacious nave, very similar to the present one. This became the local population’s favourite church; until the eighteenth century the tombs of the most illustrious Pesaro families were here: the Almerici, Antaldi, Baldassini, Gavardini and Perticari.

The friars left the convent in the wake of the 1860 decree abolishing religious corporations. The structure passed to the Municipality in 1867 and was used as a barracks and military headquarters. This was also so during the two world wars. In 1975 the Defence Minister Arnaldo Forlani donated the buildings of the former military district to the city, and the cloister to the Friars Minor.


text based on: Giovanna Patrignani, Pesaro. La Radio storia della Città, Pesaro, 2008, pp. 66-67



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