Photo ©Thomas Nemeskeri
Places of worship
The Church of St. John the Baptist in Campi Bisenzio
The "highway" church is an example of urban sensibility in harmony with Tuscan nature
Via di Limite, Città Metropolitana di Firenze, Italia

The Church of St. John the Baptist in Limite, in the municipality of Campi Bisenzio, is better known among locals as the Church of the Highway. This name comes to it from its location - although rather unusual - near the junction for the Firenze Nord exit of the Autostrada del Sole Highway. This choice is certainly not accidental, as the religious building was created to commemorate those workers who lost their lives precisely while working on the construction of the great arterial road. 

The architect in charge of the project was Giovanni Michelucci, also known for another distinctive structure: the large Santa Maria Novella railwaystation in Florence. His design resulted in a church that fits well into the landscape and whose structure, although made of reinforced concrete, is in perfect harmony with its surroundings.

Already at first glance one notices how the external curvilinear movements are reminiscent of the trend of the characteristic Tuscan hills; the plan is also very free, with spaces that are distributed loosely around the central nave. There is continuity between the outside and the inside, with the exterior profiles showing the internal space, which turns out to be made by a dense array of concrete pillar-shafts.

This original architecture also has particular colors, although changed from its original appearance, as the copper has undergone the inevitable process of oxidation. Emerging initially as a calm juxtaposition of the brown of the copper with the pinkish beige of the stone, it now reveals a covering in shades of green-gray, which are also reflected in the structure below.