We are in Brisighella, near Ravenna, in one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Italy. Overpassing the city centre, down the State Highway 302 toward Tuscany, after about 1km, you will reach the little parish church of San Giovanni Battista: it’s a touching place for its great simplicity and beauty.
Maybe it’s the olive groves and the sound of the waters of river Lamone, or maybe the beauty of the vineyards and of the farmed fields – anyway – a sudden look is enough to realise that this is a very special place.
The parish church raises in correspondence with the eighth mile of Via Faentina, the Roman street that connected Faenza and Florence. It’s for this reason that it is still referred to as “Pieve in San Giovanni in Ottavo”, where “Ottavo” means “the eighth”.
Without any doubts, it is one of the most important monuments in the entire region as well as one of the best preserved Romanesque churches.
An old vulgate claims that the building was built by Empress Galla Placidia, but in reality, it was built later, between the 8th and 10th century, even though in the surroundings many ruins of Roman structures were found.
Destination of very old pilgrimages, it saves many surprises to its visitors: recycled capitals, which are all different from one another, little single lancet windows, decoration items of earthenware tiles and a crypt built as an oratory with many archaeological findings discovered during some renovation works carried out inside.