The building project of the church (1490-1519) was first directed by Giliolo da Reggio and then by the Parmesan Bernardino Zaccagni. But to the Benedictine clients must be recognized the real design responsibilities, which led to make St. John the Evangelist one of the first buildings in the urban area updated to the new Renaissance style. The façade was later designed in an already baroque style by the ducal architect Simone Moschino and executed between 1604 and 1607 by Giovan Battista Carra da Bissone, who also made the statues of the various saints and abbots of the Order that adorn it. On the crowning of the facade there's the majestic copper eagle, symbol of the Evangelist. The bell tower was built in 1618, a little later than the façade. It is attributed to Giovanni Battista Magnani from Parma and it's the highest in the city, measuring 76.00 m.