Hidden treasures

The Motorway Church in Campi Bisenzio

Unknown places & works
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The Motorway Church in Campi Bisenzio

The Church of St. John the Baptist designed by the Pistoia-born Architect Giovanni Michelucci is known to everyone as the 'The Motorway Church'. The church earned its name for its proximity to the A1 motorway, but also for the reason that inspired its construction. The Church was built exactly halfway between Milan and Rome in order to commemorate the workers who lost their lives during the construction of the motorway. However, it became known as the Motorway Church because it is, in actual fact, right next to it, practically adjacent to the lane around the Firenze-Nord exit. Its modern structure is also in perfect harmony with the Airport of Peretola and the buildings of the Motorway Agency.

When driving through the area you cannot fail to see it. You will immediately notice the imposing and extravagant structure, especially its green sail-shaped covering. Michelucci's intention was to recreate a tent-like structure, inspired by the 12 tents used by the tribes of Israel. His idea was to create a meeting place between different religions and cultures. It could not have been otherwise in a passing place like a motorway, where people of different backgrounds meet. The copper covering, which turned green due to oxidation, stands over a stone structure creating a truly unique composition. Needless to say, when it was built between 1960 and 1964 it was subjected to heavy criticism and Michelucci was even accused of 'architectural delirium'.

So if you come to Florence by car, just before the motorway exit, take a look around and you will not fail to see it. If you have the chance, go and visit it. One of the purposes that the church was also meant to serve was to be a place of peace and silence where to stop for a prayer but also just for self-contemplation, before resuming the journey.

If you are intrigued by interesting facts and lesser known places, once you have arrived in Florence, take the opportunity to combine your trip with one of our Tours in Florence, we are sure that our guides will reveal to you many of the secrets of this wonderful city!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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