Image 0 - Baptistery of Riva San Vitale
Image 1 - Baptistery of Riva San Vitale
Image 2 - Baptistery of Riva San Vitale

Baptistery of Riva San Vitale

At the foot of Monte S. Giorgio, on Lake Ceresio, is the Baptistery of Riva San Vitale, the oldest preserved Christian monument in Switzerland, which bears witness to the village's distant origins, certainly dating back to a Roman 'vicus'.

Probably built in the 5th century, the building has an octagonal plan inscribed in a square. It may originally have been surrounded by an ambulatory, some traces of which remain on the ground.

The interior has deep semicircular niches and a small apse added in later times. In the centre is the baptismal font (the ancient octagonal pool where baptism by immersion was performed, a practice abolished in the 9th-10th centuries). A second monolithic, circular font was placed on top of it, probably at that time. In the niches, precious 12th-century Romanesque frescoes depicting the Nativity of Christ, the Assumption, the Last Judgement, Christ the Judge and symbols of the Evangelists.

In the apse, traces of a Crucifixion from an earlier period. The floor is partly the original one, in black and white marble tesserae.

Open all year round.

Accessibility Services
This cultural/tourist point of interest took part in the digital data mapping project on accessibility by Pro Infirmis. The project was carried out with the collaboration and support of Ticino Turismo, the four regional tourist organisations and the Department of Education, Culture and Sport.

All information on the accessibility of the partner in question can be found on the following page.