Of very ancient origins, the Pieve di San Giovanni Battista dominates the east side of the central Piazza Cavour in Signa. Together with the Pieve di San Lorenzo it is mentioned in a document from 964, when it was donated to the Florentine Canons by Bishop Rambaldo.
Originally it certainly was smaller in size, which over the centuries and due to the many renovations have changed its appearance to the current one, dating from the early 19th century. In fact, chapels and neighboring buildings were gradually included so that the structure could easily fulfill the function of a parish church, having the only baptismal font in the area, and that of a sanctuary due to the presence of the revered relics of the Beata Giovanna (Blessed Joan).
It is precisely for this reason that it is also called "Beata" and inside it keeps works of special interest, including a 15th-century baptismal font in richly decorated marble and an tabernacle for oils in Carrara marble, both from the Da Maiano workshop, as well as a large 16th-century canvas by the Florentine school depicting the beheading of St. John the Baptist.
The 15th-century fresco cycle in the chapel on the right, which houses the altar with the urn of the Blessed Joan's relics, is very striking. The scenes depict stories and episodes from the life of the Blessed, including some of her miracles, painted by Maestro da Signa in 1462 and by the "Master of 1441," an anonymous artist so renamed because of the date inscribed below the works.
Do not miss the other 15th-century frescoes in the parish church, including one depicting Saint Zanobius between Saint Veridiana and Saint Lucia, and an episode from the life of Saint Nicholas.
*an anonymous 15th century painter