When we came down from the top of the cathedral’s bell tower we next visited the Baptistery of Saint John, which is right in front of the cathedral. This large, octagonal baptistery may have been built on the site of a much older baptistery that was constructed some time around the year 400 AD. The current baptistery was finished in 1128 and in the early 1400s it became home to one of the first great pieces of Renaissance art. On the east side of the baptistery you can see replicas of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s famous bronze doors that Michelangelo dubbed the “Gates of Paradise.” It took Ghiberti 21 years to finish the bronze plates and decorations of the eastern doors and the originals are now held in a nearby museum for preservation. Inside the baptistery the most notable feature is the gold mosaic ceiling. This mosaic is medieval and it reminds me a lot of the mosaic ceiling of St Mark’s Cathedral in Venice.