19 July 2018

Travel memories: San Giovanni dell'Autostrada

I became fascinated with this church on the outskirts of Florence when I passed it a number of times on the bus when I was there in 2015. It was just so much in contrast to all the other architecture I'd seen in Italy.

I didn't know anything about the church, other than that it was modernist in style, so it took a bit of online detective work to find out more about it.
I discovered that it goes by different names, its official name being San Giovanni Battista, but also being known as San Giovanni dell'Autostrada del Sole - John the Baptist of the Highway of the Sun - after the motorway it sits alongside.

I found out that it was designed by Giovanni Michelucci, and was built between 1960 and 1963. It commemorates the workers who died building the road, and it also acts as a parish for those travelling along the road.

The floor plan is actually traditional in style, in a cross shape, but the overall shape of the building is very modern. I found it really interesting to compare this church to the two Glenrothes churches I visited on the architecture walk recently, which were built around the same time. They were both seen as revolutionary in some ways, but this church looks even more so to my eyes.

I didn't manage to get any photos of the church when I passed it, so I took to Google Street View so I could draw it. I chose views of it from the road, so that it would be the same angles I'd seen it from in real life.

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