Who Was Giovanni Santini? BOOK TOUR

A Star was Born to Baroque 17th Century Prague. Today We Still Marvel at His Genius. 

You are sure to be surprised, impressed, and in all other ways Wowed by the many architectural wonders that are his signature. We will be delighted to introduce any inquisitive souls, who may also wish to visit the Czech Republic, to Giovanni Santini, also known as Jan Blažej Santini Aichel. Born the son of a stonemason in Prague of the 17th century, he suffered paralesis and was unable to follow in his father's trade. In this irony, the stonemason's loss was a great gift to the rest of us.

Educated in the historical period following the 30 year war, which devastated so much of Europe, Jan was fascinated by painting, geometry and learning the secrets of the Christian Kabbalah (mathematics used in ancient times). Thus, forms based on numerical symmetry became his hallmark. Already at 25 years of age, he designed the remarkable Church of the Assumption in Sedlec near Kutna Hora, which at the time was the largest church in the Czech Lands. 

Although he would only live 46 years, from the age of 25 until his death he is responsible for 21 architectural works of art, several that are today listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. These are scattered throughout the landscapes of Bohemia and Moravia. Visiting any one of these works, while impressive enough, can only leave one to wonder just how he could manage so much.

To visit each of these marvelous wonders takes time, and with any luck a guide with good English and a solid background in Art History. Even then, it also requires imagination, since so much of the mystery of his work can be found not only in the details of design, but in the story of his life. To say that this son of Prague, baptized in Saint Vitus, was driven to achieve greatness would be an understatement.

We would be honored to show you these remarkable sights. It can be based entirely upon your budget and interest. To see it all, however, is truly not possible in 1 day, or 1 week for that matter. It is possible to get a wonderful overview by starting at the Museum dedicated to his work in Plassy, West of Prague. We suggest a visit to 3 or 4 sights in this part of the country (Plassy Monastery, Kladruby Monastery, Mladotice Chaple, and Marianska Tynice), which could easily fit into a single day, departing from Plzen. From Prague, it would be a longer day, still possible, yet we do not recommend trying to fill a single day with too much road, even if the roads in this part of the country are a sight to be seen all by themselves.

An alternative day trip East of Prague to Kutna Hora should certainly include the Church of the Assumption in Sedlec, as well as the so call Bone Church (Osuary), both designed by a young Santini, as well as his more mature work, Karlova Koruna Zamek in Clumec nad Cidlinou.

To visit his masterpiece, the Church of St. John of Nepomuk on Zelena Hora in Ždar nad Sazavou, is also possible in a single day from Prague. We encourage visitors to continue further into Moravia to see his other works. For this we recommend 3 or more days from Prague.