Church of San Giovanni Battista
The Church of San Giovanni Battista was built starting from 1230 over the old church at the time called “Santa Maria Nuova”. It sees its completion in 1233. In 1480, finally, during the war in Otranto it was abandoned to be reopened for worship in 1695 and dedicated to San Giovanni Battista. The structure has undergone several changes over the centuries.
Its architecture is mainly Romanesque, but various influences are noted
- Arabic in the portals,
- Gothic in the arches
- Greek because of its cross plan with equal arms
This church has no real facade. The right side is dominated by the main portal, finely decorated with vegetable volutes; it is also decorated with hanging columns and animal sculptures. A tuff work representing St. John the Baptist occupies the niche under the rose window of the great tympanum.
The interior has three naves. Internally we find eight pillars surmounted by capitals decorated with floral and animal motifs. The central nave has a ribbed vault, while on the side aisles the large transverse arches form cross vaults.
The medieval chapels contain a 16th century fresco of the Madonna della Nova and two wooden statues representing the medical saints Cosma and Damiano. In the chapel on the altar there is a canvas from the mid-eighteenth century by Vito Antonio Conversi.