The Duomo, Santa Maria del Fiore          

Chiesa di San Miniato al Monte

Santa Maria del Carmine

Santa Maria Novella

Santa Croce


The Badia Fiorentina

Basilica di San Lorenzo

Church of Sant Trinita          


Santissima Annunziata


Other churches in Florence




La Crocetta
Gesù Pellegrino
San Basilio
San Domenico al Maglio
San Francesco de'Macci San Francesco al Tempio
San Francesco Poverino (oratory)
San Giuseppe
San Marco
San Niccolò del Ceppo
San Pier Maggiore (demolished)
San Pierino (oratory)
San Procolo
San Remigio
San (Micheli a San) Salvi
San Tommaso d'Aquino (oratory)
Santa Croce
Santa Maria degli Angeli
Santa Maria degli Angiolini
Santa Maria dei Candeli
Santa Maria della Croce al Tempio
Santa Maria della Neve and The Convent of the Murate
Santa Maria in Campo
Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi (de’Pazzi or Cestello)
Santa Teresa
Santa Verdiana
Santi Jacopo e Lorenzo
Santi Simone e Guida
Santissima Annunziata
Spedale degli Innocenti
Valdese Holy Trinity



Adorazione Perpetua
Sacro Cuore al Romito
Saint James Episcopal
San Barnaba
San Clemente
San Francesco dei Vanchetoni
San Gaetano
San Gallo (demolished)
San Giovanni di Dio
San Giovannino dei Cavalieri
San Giuliano
San Giuseppe (oratory)
San Giuseppino San Giuseppe
San Jacopino
San Jacopo di Ripoli
San Jacopo in Campo Carbolini
San Lorenzo
San Martino della Scala Santa Maria della Scala
San Paolino
Sant'Onofrio di Fuligno
Santa Caterina Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore
Santa Lucia sul Prato
Santa Maria Novella
Santa Trìnita
Santi Jacopo e Filippo
Scalzo, Chiostro dello





Travel guide for Tuscany

Churches, cathedrals, basilicas and monasteries of Florence

Florence lies on the Arno River and it is known for its history and its importance in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance, especially for its art and architecture. A centre of medieval European trade and finance, the city is often considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and was long ruled by the Medici family. In fact, the city has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. Just here, in the XV century, were put the basis to flourish again the Italian art and culture: thanks to writers like Dante, Petrarca and Machiavelli, the Italian language was born and thanks to the operas of artists like Botticelli, Michelangelo, Donatello, Brunelleschi and many others, it is become one of the artistic capital of the world. The "Historic Centre of Florence" was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1982.
Florence's museums, palaces, and churches house some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world. The most popular and important sites in Florence include the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Uffizi, the Bargello, and the Accademia. The churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are veritable art galleries, and the library of San Lorenzo is a magnificent exhibition of Michelangelo's architectural genius.


View Firenze churches in a larger map

Map of the churches, cathedrals, basilicas and monasteries of Florence, Italy



The Duomo, Santa Maria del Fiore

Santa Maria del Fiore, or the Duomo, is the cathedral church of Florence, dedicated to the Madonna of Florence. The famous cathedral dominates the skyline of Florence, with its eight white ribs against a background of terracotta tiles. The basilica is one of the largest churches in Italy and until the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed. The church's three buildings form part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site covering the historic center of Florence.
The church was originally built in the 6th and 7th centuries and then reconstructed several times in the Romanesque period. In the 13th century, it was deemed necessary to build a larger cathedral to suit the city's growing population and to match the constructions of other Tuscan cities. Arnolfo di Cambio designed the new church which was finally completed around the 15th century.


Firenze, Duomo
Firenze, Duomo

The colorful exterior walls are made from marble; white from Carrara, green from Prato, and red from Maremma. The duomo is composed of the cathedral, the Battistero di San Giovanni and Giotto's bell tower. The majestic dome, the greatest of Brunellesci's woks, is considered a feat of unrivaled engineering skill. Weighing 37,000 tons and containing over 4 million bricks, the dome was the largest and highest of its time. 463 steps lead to the top of the dome, which offers a spectacular view of Florence.

There are several great works of art contained in the interior of the cathedral. Notable works include busts of Brunellesci, Giotto, and Michelin, Michelino's Dante, the Condottieri memorials, a sculpture of the prophet Joshua, and Paolo Ucello's Funerary Monument to Sir John Hawkwood.
In 1436 in the Florence cathedral, Uccello completed a monochrome fresco of an equestrian monument to Sir John Hawkwood, an English mercenary who had commanded Florentine troops at the end of the 14th century. In the Hawkwood fresco, a single-point perspective scheme, a fully sculptural treatment of the horse and rider, and a sense of controlled potential energy within the figure all indicate Uccello's desire to assimilate the new style of the Renaissance that had blossomed in Florence since his birth. Following the Hawkwood monument, in 1443 Uccello completed four heads of prophets around a colossal clock on the interior of the west façade of the cathedral; between 1443 and 1445 he contributed the designs for two stained-glass windows in the cupola.

The baptistery is one of the oldest and most famous buildings in Florence, and its east door is the most celebrated work of Lorenzo Ghiberti. The door took almost Ghiberti's entire life to complete and Michelangelo is said to have called it the Gate of Paradise.

Giotto di Bondone succeeded Arnolfo di Cambio (the first Master of the Cathedral Works)
upon his death in 1334, and as the famous painter and architect was 67 years old, he concentrated his energy on the Campanile. He created a design that became a showpiece of Florentine Gothic style. He probably confined himself to designing the separate Campanile which stands like a tower beside the facade. In fact Giotto's Campanile is not entirely as he designed it. Only the lower story of the bell tower was realized from Giotto's design. There, set in the pink-coloured fields of marble, are figural reliefs, whose order and number were changed by later alterations. The design of the original 21 reliefs very probably came from Giotto. They were executed by Andrea Pisano (1290-1348), Giotto's successor as capomaestro.

Florence | The Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore

Address Piazza Duomo, Florence (FI)
Opening hours
Open from 8.30 am to 7.00 pm
Saturdays: 8.30 am – 5.40 pm
1st Saturday: 8.30 – 4.00 pm
May 1st: 8.30 am – 5.00 pm
Days of closure
Closed January 1, January 6, Thu-Fri-Sat Holy Week, Easter, April 25, June 24, August 15, September 8, November 1, Mon-Tue of the first week of Advent, Christmas, December 26.
For further information visit


Dante, poised between the mountain of purgatory and the city of Florence, displays the famous incipit Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita in a detail of Domenico di Michelino's painting, Florence 1465 [1]

Paolo Ucello, Funerary Monument to
Sir John Hawkwood


Chiesa di San Miniato al Monte

San Miniato al Monte faces Florence from across the Arno

The Basilica of San Miniato al Monte is one of the oldest churches in Florence and is frequently called the finest Romanesque basilica in all of Italy. The church as we know it today was started around 1018 and took over one hundred years to complete. St. Minias was possibly from Armenia and believed to have been martyred around 250 (he was beheaded during the anti-Christian persecutions of the Emperor Decius and was said to have picked up his head, crossed the Arno and walked up the hill of Mons Fiorentinus to his hermitage and buried on this hillside). The church is in a wonderful state of preservation and there are several important works inside, including a tabernacle attributed to Rossellino, the tomb of the Cardinal of Portugal with works by Rossellino, Della Robbia and others, frescoes by Agnolo Gaddi, and an amazing fresco cycle of the life of St. Benedict by Spinello Aretino, to name just some of them.

The symbol atop the pediment is a gilded copper eagle clutching a bale of wool, the symbol of the Florentine Cloth Merchants Guild who financed the building of the church and facade and administered the wealth of the Benedictine convent from 1288. This facade inspired Alberti when he completed Santa Maria Novella, and was also the inspiration for the 19th century facades for the Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore) and Santa Croce.
The Palazzo dei Vescovi (Bishop’s Palace) was the summer residence of the
Bishops of Florence until it became part of the monastery in 1534.

Art in Tuscany | Florence | Basilica of San Miniato al Monte




Santa Maria del Carmine

Chiesa di Santa Maria del Carmine in Firenze

Santa Maria del Carmine is a church of the Carmelite Order. It is famous for its Brancacci Chapel which houses magnificent Renaissance frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino da Panicale, later finished by Filippino Lippi.
The church, dedicated to the Beatæ Virginis Mariæ de monte Carmelo, began to be built in 1268 as part of the Carmelite convent, which still exists today. Of the original edifice Some Romanesque-Gothic remains of the original structure can still be seen on the sides of the church. The complex was enlarged once in 1328 and again in 1464, when the capitular hall and the refectory were added.
Renovated again in 16th-17th centuries, the church was damaged by a fire in 1771 and rebuilt internally in 1782. The façade, like many other Florentine churches, remained unfinished. The fire did not touch the sacristy and fortunately many artworks survived, including the stories of St. Cecilia attributed to Lippo d'Andrea and the marble monument of Pier Soderini by Benedetto da Rovezzano. The vault of the nave has a trompe-l'oeil fresco by Domenico Stagi.

The Brancacci Chapel also survived the fire and was also restored due to the intervention of a Florentine noblewoman who firmly opposed the covering of the frescoes. The Chapel is home to famous frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino, considered the first masterworks of the Italian Renaissance. Masaccio's master, Masolino, commissioned by a wealthy merchant, Felice Brancacci, began work on the chapel in 1425 but the project was soon taken over by his pupil whose treatment of figures in space made the frescoes among the most important to have come out of the Early Renaissance. The scenes by Masaccio are the Expulsion from Paradise, The Tribute Money St Peter Healing a Lame-Man, and St Peter Raising Tabitha from the dead. The cycle was finished by Filippino Lippi.

The Corsini Chapel of the church was built by the Corsini, probably the richest family in Florence during the 17th-18th centuries. The chapel is dedicated to St. Andrew Corsini, a Carmelite bishop of Fiesole who was canonized in 1629. The architect Pier Francesco Silvani choose a Baroque style for the chapel. The small dome was painted by Luca Giordano in 1682. The elaborated rococo ceiling is the work of one of the most important 18th century artists in the city, Giovanni Domenico Ferretti.

The convent of the church has suffered several times from numerous disasters, from the fire to the flooding of 1966. Most of the artworks are therefore damaged: these include the Bestowal of the Carmelite Rule by Filippo Lippi and the Last Supper by Alessandro Allori, and remains of works from other chapels by Pietro Nelli and Gherardo Starnina.

Churches in Florence | Santa Maria del Carmine
Art in Tuscany | Masaccio | Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence



Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella
Santa Maria Novella

The decorative marble facade of Tuscany's most important Gothic church incorporates billowing sails and ostrich feathers (emblem of the Medici). The Santa Maria Novella church houses immense artistic treasures, donated by wealthy patrons, many with chapels named after them.
The old church on this site, taken over in 1219 by a group of Dominicans led by Fra Giovanni da Salerno, was called Santa Maria della Vigne (the nearby Duomo was Santa Maria del Fiore). The foundation stone of the present church was laid in October 1279, and the church was finally consecrated 140 years later in September 1420.

The exterior is the work of Fra Jacopo Talenti and Leon Battista Alberti. The interior holds extraordinary works of art including Masaccio's Trinità, Ghirlandaio's fresco cycle in the Tornabuoni Chapel and Giotto's Crucifix, among others.
The convent was built between 1279 and 1357 by Dominican friars near a 7th century church located in the fields just outside Florence's medieval walls. The lower part of the marble facade, which is Romanesque in style, is believed to have been executed by a Dominican architect, Fra Iacopo Talenti da Nipozzano, while the upper part was completed only 100 years later in 1470 by Leon Battista Alberti. Thus, the facade is not only the oldest of all the churches in Florence but it is also the only church with its original planned facade in place. As you will see, the church of San Lorenzo never even received its planned marble facade while others were completed centuries later with new designs.

The church initially had been divided into two parts - the higher part was divided by a wall and reserved for the friars while the lower part was open to the faithful that entered by the eastern side door. The wall was demolished by Vasari in the 16th century but you can clearly see where the division used to be as Giotto's Crucifix hangs right above. This also explains why the pulpit is so far down the church in the lower part.

The side door was also closed off by Vasari and was just reopened in 2000 on occasion of the Jubilee celebrations which permits once again to correctly observe Masaccio's Trinity as it was intended.
The entire church was initially covered in frescoes but these were painted over in the 16th century by Vasari when he carried out massive works ordered by Cosimo de' Medici. The Trinità was covered by a massive painting and only rediscovered around 1860 when further refurbishments were carried out.


The Trinità or Trinity by Masaccio on the far wall right in front of you as you enter the church through the side door. The Trinità (1424-25) is one of the earliest paintings to demonstrate mastery of perspective. Also notice that the Virgin Mary is not portrayed as a young girl as in so many other paintings; here, she is older and is clearly a mother.
The Crucifix by Giotto hangs in the center of the central nave as all his crucifixes were intended: with empty air all around it, you were to be reminded of Christ's actual crucifixion on the wooden cross. While it is an early work (1288-89) for Giotto, you can see his mastery in the shading on Christ's body, the waves in his hair, the blood spilling out, the details in the background tapestry.
The Strozzi Chapel, to the right of the main altar, is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist and scenes of his life are portrayed in the beautiful frescoes by Filippino Lippi. He begun working on the chapel in 1487 but then the Strozzi were exiled from Florence by the Medici. The chapel was finished only in 1502 after the Strozzi returned to the city. As Lippi dies in 1504, this is one of his last works.
The Tornabuoni Chapel is the main chapel you see at the front of the church. The altar used to be smaller and placed in the center of the chapel but was enlarged in the 19th century with the large engraved marble altar we see today. The Tornabuoni chapel is dedicated to both the Virgin Mary, to whom the church is dedicated (scenes on the left), and to St. John the Baptist (scenes on the right). The frescoes are by Domenico Ghirlandaio and his workshop, in which a very young Michelangelo apprenticed. The three young lads giving their backs to the observer in the bottom right scene "Mary visits Saint Elizabeth" (pictured above) are said to be his work. After restoration, the vibrant colors are still stunning and Ghirlandaio's penchant for including important people of the day in contemporary clothing make his work "photographs" of his days. The beauty of his work has to be personally admired to be fully appreciated.

Art in Tuscany | Santa Maria Novella, Firenze


The Tornabuoni Chapel
The Tornabuoni Chapel
Church of Saint Apostoli

Church of Saint Apostoli, interior

The Church of Saint Apostoli was built in the 11th century, and, though remodelled in the 15th and 16th centuries, is one of the few in the city to have maintained its High Middle Ages features. It faces the Piazza del Limbo ("Limbo Square), so-called for it anciently housed a cemetery for children who died before having been baptized.

A slab on the façade attributes the foundation to Charlemagne and his paladin Roland, in the year 800, but scholars assign it to the 11th century. A small bell tower was added by Baccio d'Agnolo in the 16th century.
The simple façade, in Romanesque style, has a portal attributed to Benedetto da Rovezzano.


The plan, with a nave and two aisles with a semicircular apse, still shows Palaeo-Christian influences. It has green marble columns from Prato with capitals stripped from ancient Roman remains (the Corinthian ones probably coming from the baths existing in the area). The richly decorated wooden ceiling was added in 1333. Noteweorthy is the pavement, with a mosaic from the original edifice which was later restored with the contributions of outstanding Florentine families (Acciaioli, Altoviti and others). the apse area has maintained the Romanesque appearance, with undecorated stones visible. The side chapels are from the 16th century.
In the church are conserved some stone splinters from the Holy Sepulchre which are used as a flint to light the fire-works during the "Scoppio del Carro" feast on Easter Sunday, in front of the Baptistery. On the left of the apse are a polychrome terracotta tabernacle by Giovanni della Robbia, and the Tomb of Oddo Altoviti (who financed most of the reconstructions) by Benedetto da Rovezzano. The tomb of Bindo Altoviti has a bust by Bartolomeo Ammannati (1570).

Santa Croce


Santa Croce, Florence

Firenze, Santa Croce

Santa Croce, rebuilt for the Franciscan order in 1294 by Arnolfo di Cambio, is the burial place for the great and good in Florence. Michelangelo is buried in Santa Croce, as are Rossini, Machiavelli, and the Pisan-born Galileo Galilei, who was tried by the Inquisition and was not allowed a Christian burial until 1737, 95 years after his death.
The cenotaph dedicated to Dante Alighieri, the Florentinian poet who was sent into exile and died and is buried in Ravenna (despite some attempts to bring his body back to Florence).
Construction of the basilica began in 1294 and it was consecrated by the pope in 1442.
The church exterior is covered with a polychrome marble façade added in 1863 and paid for by the English benefactor, Sir Francis Sloane. It looks onto the Piazza Santa Croce, which is the site of the annual soccer game in medieval costume, the Calcio Storico.

There is great artistic wealth in Santa Croce; frescoes (1380) by Agnolo Gaddi in the Cappella Maggiore tell the story of the holy cross, "santa croce", and beautiful frescoes by Giotto in the Bardi and Peruzzi Chapels show scenes from the life of St. Francis and St. John the Evangelist.
Taddeo Gaddi, one of Giotto's pupils painted the Baroncelli Chapel in the church of Santa Croce in Florence around 1328, brilliantly employing the technical achievements of his teacher. The frescoes represent Scenes from the Life of the Virgin. He also frescoed the end wall of the refectory of the church with a Last Supper, a Tree of Life and Four Miracle Scenes. An unusual relief, the Annunciation, in gilded limestone by Donatello decorates the south nave's wall. Don't miss the memorial to the 19th century playwright Giovanni Battista Niccolini to the left of the entrance said to be been the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty.

Outside the Basilica di Santa Croce is this statue of Dante Alighieri, the poet who wrote The Divine Comedy and who was responsible for the development of the modern Italian language.

The church of Santa Croce was severely hit by the flood of 1966, a tide mark shows far up on the pillars and walls.
Perhaps one of the most famous pieces is Cimabue's Crucifix, which was badly damaged during the 1966 flood that hit the city of Florence, but is still on display in the refectory. The basilica's cloisters are also open to the public.

Churches in Tuscany | Chiesa di Santa Croce, Firenze
Art in Tuscany | Cimabue


Santa Croce. Agnolo Gaddi and his assistants began decorating the Great Chapel and its walls in the 1380s



Orsanmichele (or "Kitchen Garden of St. Michael", from the contraction in Tuscan dialect of the Italian word orto) was constructed on the site of the kitchen garden of the monastery of San Michele, now gone.
Located on the Via Calzaiuoli in Florence, the church was originally built as a grain market in 1337 by Francesco Talenti, Neri di Fioravante, and Benci di Cione. Between 1380 and 1404 it was converted into a church used as the chapel of Florence's powerful craft and trade guilds. On the ground floor of the square building are the 13th century arches that originally formed the loggia of the grain market. The second floor was devoted to offices, while the third housed one of the city's municipal grain storehouses, maintained to withstand famine or siege. Late in the 14th century, the guilds were charged by the city to commission statues of their patron saints to embellish the facades of the church. The sculptures seen today are copies, the originals having been removed to museums.
Inside the church is Andrea Orcagna's bejeweled Gothic Tabernacle (1355-59) encasing a repainting by Bernardo Daddi's of an older icon of the 'Madonna and Child'.
The facades held 14 architecturally designed external niches, which were filled from 1399 to around 1430. The three richest guilds opted to make their figures in the far more costly bronze, which cost approximately ten times the amount of the stone figures.


The Badia Fiorentina

The Badia Fiorentina, frescoes by Nardo di Cione

The Badia Fiorentina, the pointy tower in Dante's neighborhood is one of the nicest (and least visited) older churches in Florence. It was founded as a Benedictine abbey in the late 10th century, and rebuilt as a Gothic church in 1284–1310. The interior has an unfortunately uninspired baroque overlay. The Badia helped regulate life in medieval Florence through the tolling of its bell, which marked the beginning and end of the working day.
There are some tombs sculpted by Mina da Fiesole and Bernardo Rossellino, a painting by Giorgio Vasari, and several nice but ruinous frescoes by Nardo di Cione. The best work inside is Filippino Lippi's Madonna Appearing to St. Bernard.
The entrance to the Badia was originally on the via del Proconsolo, but in the 17th century the orientation of the church was turned 90 degrees and a new choir was built. On the right of the choir, a door opens onto a flight of stairs, which leads to the upper storey of the Chiostro degli Aranci, the Cloister of the Oranges, one of the city's many hidden gems.
Murals depicting the Life of St. Benedict were painted in the cloister between 1435 and 1439 at a time when the Benedictine Order in Italy was experiencing profound change as certain Italian houses undertook a reform of their monastic practice and a refashioning of their corporate identity. The Florentine Badia was one of four Italian monasteries to initiate a Reform Congregation in 1419, and the frescoes that decorate the Badia’s cloister served as a means to define what it meant to be Benedictine. The frescoes are some of the earliest frescoes to show some of the new developments of the renaissance, naturalism andlinear perspective.[2]
It is not known for certain who the frescoes are by, although a number of attributions have been made. One possible contender is the Portuguese painter, Giovanni Gonsalvo, who is known to have arrived in Florence during the 1430s, the estimated date for the execution of the frescoes. More often than not, the artist is known, simply, as the Il Maestro di Chiostro degli Aranci, (The Master of the Cloister of Oranges).

The Renaissance cloisters were designed by Rossellino around a well and some orange trees. Try to get access to the upper level with its anonymous 15th century frescoes.[3] The cloister is only open on Monday afternoons from 3 until 6.

The Badia, around the corner from Dante's House, was also the parish church of Beatrice Portinari, the famous Beatrice of Dante's Divine Comedy, with whom the author's alter ego was in love and whom he quite literally followed through the Gates of Hell and slog of Purgatory all the way to Paradise.

The high point of the early phase of Lippi's development is the Vision of St Bernard, one of the finest lyric pictures of the entire Renaissance. The painting was commissioned by Piero del Pugliese, a wealthy cloth merchant, whose portrait we see in the bottom right hand corner.
St Bernard of Clairvaux, seated at a desk with his pen poised, experiences a vision of the Virgin, who regularly had been the subject of his writings. The confrontation takes place out-of-doors (rather than in his study or in a church), enframed ingeniously by an outcropping of rock that creates a natural bench and bookshelves for the scholar. Behind Bernard, in the dark reaches of the rock, are two chained demons, while in the zone above, Cistercian monks converse or look heavenward in front of their fine Renaissance abbey. Still higher in the composition, a sick old man is being carried down toward the building. On the other side, a sweet landscape sweeps the eye into the distance.
The format of the main figural group is echoed by the stony backdrop which, roughly speaking, forms a pyramid. Also included are the donor, Francesco del Pugliese, matched pictorially on the other side by the blond angel, leaning inward, hands clasped in prayer. The colours are confident, bright, and direct, adding to the exceptional visual excitement of the painting. Mary hovers above the ground facing Bernard. Her elegant form and finely silhouetted head are not dependent upon vigorous light-to-dark juxtapositions or even, as with Botticelli, a felicitously found, heavily accented line, but rather on the operation of fragile edges. The same is true for the figure of the saint, where light, colour, and lustrous paint, presumably oil, combine to produce the desired effect. The landscape is rather flat, despite all the implications of deep space. The painting, although not dated, may have been finished by 1485, the approximate completion date for another project of considerable importance, the Brancacci Chapel frescoes.


Filippino Lippi, Apparition of The Virgin to St Bernard, 1486, Church of Badia, Florence


Basilica di San Lorenzo

Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence
Basilica di San Lorenzo


The Basilica di San Lorenzo was also the site of the most influential architectural innovations of the Renaissance: the Old Sacristy designed by Brunelleschi and decorated by Donatello is the first architecture based on proportion, the unity of elements, and the use of classical orders. It was financed by the Medici, who used it for their tombs, and it is one of the most important monuments of early Renaissance architecture.
The church has no facade, just the rough stone and brick. This is the oldest church in Florence (founded in 393). It was the Florence Cathedral until the 7th century, when the Bishop moved to Santa Reparata (later to become the Duomo). In 1419, Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici, the founder of the dynasty, offered along with other parishioners to rebuild the church, and hired Brunelleschi to work on plans for a new interior. This was to start a revolution in Renaissance architecture. Progress was off and on for a while due to financial and political issues until Cosimo de’ Medici offered a fortune equal to the annual earnings of 250 families to ensure completion. San Lorenzo then became the Medici church, and the Medici Chapel became their private chapel and burial crypt. The interior is an early Renaissance masterpiece by Brunelleschi, Donatello, and others of the most talented artists of their time.
For 500 years the church has been without a proper marble facade. It came very close to getting one at the beginning of the 16th century when Giovanni de' Medici, the second son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, was elected Pope Leo X. The parish church of a family which could now boast a Pope in its ranks had to have a suitably impressive facade and a family friend and sculptor was commissioned to design and build one. He was the same age as the new Pope and his name was Michelangelo.
In the end, the facade never got built, as the Pope transferred his attention to another project, one which would also promote the name. wealth and honour of the Medici family, the building of a new Sacristy.

Behind the church of San Lorenzo, you do not miss to visit Medici funeral Chapels. Built to be a mausoleum for family members, nowadays it is an interesting museum. This museum consists of the Medici Crypt, the Chapel of the Princes and Michelangelo’s New Sacristy.

The pulpits of the San Lorenzo


Basilica di San Lorenzo, interior

The two Pulpits with eleven panels in the Basilica of San Lorenzo are Donatello's last works. The chronology is known because the date "1465 adi 15 Gug" (on 15 June 1465) was traced on the ledge of the pulpit to the left of the Torture of St Lawrence. The two bronze pulpits were the scene of Savanarola’s fire and brimstone sermons.
The pulpits are obviously the result of collaboration between Donatello and his pupils Bertoldo and Bellano. While in the Deposition from the Cross and the Entombment this collaboration is apparent - in the extremely elongated figures and the unusually high degree of finish of the reliefs - the Agony in the Garden is considered to be the part where Donatello was working alone and where his ties to his youthful style are clearly visible. Everything is permeated by Ghiberti, from the landscape to the soft line connecting the images and the groups of sleeping disciples, each one clearly defined.
It is the general consensus of art historical opinion that in these eleven panels the collaboration of the pupils played a prominent part. The bas-reliefs were first modelled in wax, and it is probable that for as long as he could, Donatello carried out this process himself. But by degrees a progressive paralysis must have limited his direct participation, forcing him to give a free hand to his helpers, though he may have continued to direct them. When he died on 13 December 1466 the two pulpits were not in place, and their final positioning, which followed a sketch made by Donatello, did not occur until 1515, when Pope Leo X visited Florence.

The reliefs on the north pulpit contain scenes of the Harrowing of Hell, The Resurrection, the Ascension, and the Martyrdom of St Lawrence. The reliefs on the south pulpit narrate the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ. The reliefs on the pulpit are extraordinary in their expressionistic, occasionally violent, portrayal of these events.

Art in Tuscany | Church of San Lorenzo, the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenzia and the Capella Medici

Art in Tuscany | Donatello


Pulpit of the Resurrection, showing the
Descent into Limbo, the Resurrection,
and the Ascension panels.

The Pulpit of the Passion, showing
the Crucifixion and Deposition panels.

The St. Trinity Church, or Church of Santa Trinita

Basilica of Santa Trinita, Florence

The Church of Santa Trinita, or St. Trinity Church, overlooks the square of the same name and can easily be reached by walking down via de' Tornabuoni, one of the most elegant streets in Florence's city center, down towards the Arno River.
The Santa Trinità church was erected in the 13th century. It was rebuilt several times and the present Baroque façade was made only at the end of the 16th century by Bernardo Buontalenti. The interior was restored in Gothic style at the end of the 19th century. The church is famous for the Sassetti Chapel decorated in 1486 by Domenico Ghirlandaio with frescoes of the life of St Francis.
Commissioned by Vallombrosan Benedictine monks, the Santa Trinita Church was founded in the middle of the 11th century. Originally located just off the ancient city walls, the church was incorporated into the city center when the second walls were built in 1172-1173.
The ancient medieval building is still partially visible inside as you look at the "counter-facade". The current facade was designed in 1500 by Bernardo Buontalenti, one of the main Mannierist artists in Tuscany, and displays scuplteres by Giovanni Caccini.
The Church of Santa Trinita belonged to the Strozzi family and then passed to the Medici family. In 1400 many important painters worked for the church (the Sassetti Chapel by Ghirlandaio was completed between 1483-1486).

The Davanzati Chapel is dedicated to Giuliano Davanzati. Inside the chapel stands the Sarcofago del buon pastore - Sarcophagus of the Good Shepherd by Rossellino (1444) who used a Roman sarcophagus. On it, a shepherd is depicted with lambs portrayed in a very dour way; in fact the man almost seems a monk.
In the chapel a beautiful Crowned Virgin by Bicci di Lorenzo is displayed.
The chapel also has a fresco portraying Saint John Gualberto (founder of the Vallombrosan Order) by Neri di Bicci (mid 1400) was moved here from the Church of San Pancrazio. The fresco reminds one of works by Masaccio, but the figures look stiller. There is also an Annunciation by Neri di Bicci.
The Spini Chapel houses the fresco of the Holy Bishop by Alessio Baldovinetti. In the chapel a wooden statue (almost full size) depicts Magdalene by Desiderio da Settignano that looks like the Magdalene by Donatello.
The Saint John Gualberto Chapel commemorates the founder of the Vallombrosan Order whose relics are preserved here. It was built as a gift to the church by the monks, and it was designed and created to look like a real yet small casket. Frescoes were painted by Passignano at the end of the 1500s.
Commemorating Benozzo Federighi, Bishop of Fiesole who died in 1450, the Benozzo Federighi funerary monument was created by Luca della Robbia (1454). The monument's frame is made of majolica using the "opus sectile" technique: every oval is made of small tiles that create a mosaic (it's one of the first examples of the use of majolica for funerary monuments).
Main Altar | In 1500, the original chancel was taken apart by Buonatalenti, one part was completely removed while another was just moved back. The altar houses a beautiful polyptych: S. Anthony, S. Michael, S. Francis and S. Julian and in the center God and Jesus (in smaller proportion).
The Doni Chapel houses a fresco depicting a Blessing Christ by Bicci di Lorenzo. Inside, a crucifix also stands.
The Sassetti Chapel is one of the most beautiful and rich chapels in the church. In the center is a painting depicting the birth of Jesus "The Adoration by the Shepherds". It dates back to 1585 and is signed by Ghirlandaio, as well as all of the frescoes in the chapel. The members of the Sassetti family who commissioned the work are themselves portrayed within the frescoes, as in Masaccio's Trinità.
The frescoes depicting Stories of San Francis are really beautiful. These date back to the same period (1500s). In the middle, a miracle attributed to San Francis is portrayed: it depicts a child fallen down from a window in the Palazzo Spini ("revived child"), the palace right in front of Santa Trinita, an event that horrified the population. Because it heppened in Piazza Santa Trinita, the fresco shows how the square looked like at that time (the church frescoed doesn't have the Romanesque facade).
The sacristy entrance stands to the right of the Sassetti Chapel. Originally it was the Strozzi Chapel, designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi. On the altar used to stand the Adoration of the Magi by Gentile da Fabriano, now displayed at the Uffizi Gallery. Onofrio Strozzi wanted a monument to commemorate Saint Onofrio and Saint Nicholas, which was made by Michelozzo. The chapel also houses also a Pietà by Barbieri.
The last chapel by the entrance on the right, the Bartolini - Salimbeni Chapel, is enriched by a valuable cycle of frescoes, Life of the Virgin, a work by Lorenzo Monaco (1420-25). Signed by the same artist is also the beautiful wooden painting of the Annunciation in the same chapel.

Art in Tuscany | Domenico Ghirlandaio | The Sassetti Chapel in the Santa Trinita church in Florence


View of the Sassetti Chapel

Domenico Ghirlandaio, Confirmation of the Rule (Detail), Fresco Santa Trinità, Florence.

Portrayed (ltr): Antonio di Puccio Pucci, Lorenzo de' Medici and Francesco Sassetti

Chiesa di Ognissanti, Firenze

Chiesa di Ognissanti


The Chiesa di Ognissanti (All-Saints Church) is a Franciscan church in Florence, Italy. Founded by the lay order of the Umiliati, the church was dedicated to all the saints and martyrs, known and unknown.

It was completed during the 1250s, but almost completely rebuilt on Baroque designs of Bartolomeo Pettirossi, about 1627, with a façade - by Matteo Nigetti (1637) - that conserved the grand glazed terracotta lunette in the manner of the Della Robbia, now attributed to Benedetto Buglioni, over the doorway: Ognissanti was among the first examples of Baroque architecture to penetrate this Renaissance city. Its two orders of pilasters enclose niches and windows with fantastical cornices. To the left of the façade is a campanile of 13th and 14th century construction.
The Umiliati, by the dedication and probity of the lay brothers and sisters, gained a reputation in Florence, and dedicated works of art began to accumulate in their severely simple church. Giotto's celebrated Madonna and Child with angels, now in the Uffizi, was painted for the high altar, about 1310, and recently, cleaning has also revealed Giotto's hand in the Crucifix in the left transept. During the sixteenth century the Umiliati declined in energy, and the Franciscan order assumed control of the church in 1571, bringing precious relics such as the robe Saint Francis of Assisi wore.

In the interior, the Baroque remodelling, which provided a completely rebuilt apse with a pietre dure high altar and a sotto in su perspective (1770) on the vaulted nave ceiling, preserved quattrocento frescoes in the nave chapels, by Ghirlandaio and Botticelli, who is buried in the church near his beloved Simonetta Vespucci. Botticelli's fresco of Saint Augustine in his Study, balances Ghirlandaio's Saint Jerome in his Study in the chapel facing it across the navel, both executed in 1480. Perhaps the greatest of Ognissanti's frescoes is Ghirlandaio's Last Supper in the refectory between the two cloisters, a work with which Leonardo was intimately familiar.

In the Vespucci chapel, a fresco by Domenico Ghirlandaio with his brother David (about 1472), of the Madonna della Misericordia protecting members of the Vespucci family, is reputed to include the portrait of Amerigo Vespucci as a child.

Art in Tuscany | Firenze | Chiesa di Ognissanti

Domenico Ghirlandaio, Madonna of Mercy, c. 1472, fresco, Ognissanti, Florence

Lamentation over the Dead Christ, c. 1472, fresco, Ognissanti, Florence

Domenico Ghirlandaio, Lamentation over the Dead Christ, about 1472, fresco, Ognissanti, Florence

The Basilica della Santissima Annunziata

One of the most beautiful piazzas in Florence, Piazza della Santissima Annunziata exemplifies the stylistic harmony of some of the greatest architects of the Renaissance. The church that gives the piazza its name, the Santissima Annunziata, lies behind the central portico of the piazza.

The Basilica della Santissima Annunziata (Basilica of the Most Holy Annunciation) is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Florence and the mother church of the Servite order. It is located at the northeastern side of the Piazza Santissima Annunziata.

'One of the most highly venerated Marian shrines in Florence, the church was founded in 1250 as the Oratory of Cafaggio, by the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order. These noble Florentines, having been vouchsafed a vision of the Virgin, retired from the city to a wild hermitage at Monte Senario, north of Florence.
The history of their new Oratory is closely connected to the cultus of a painting of the Madonna, showing the Annunciation, which is still preserved in a chapel at the entrance to the basilica. Popular piety relates that the fourteenth-century artist, a certain Friar Bartolomeo, was having difficulty in painting the face of the Virgin, when he fell asleep; on waking he found that the fresco had been finished by angelic hands. The religious fervour aroused by this reported miracle led to the church being enclosed by houses in the 14th century as people wanted to be near the place where the miracle had happened.

The present structure took shape between 1444 and 1477, when Michelozzo began the tribune with its radiating chapels, later finished by Leon Battista Alberti.

The breath-taking interior, with arches and piers sheathed in coloured marble (16th and 17th century), has a golden ceiling decorated between 1664 and 1670 to a design by Baldasarre Franceschini, known as Volterrano, who also painted the canvas of the Assumption.
High up between the windows there are panels and medallions, painted with Miracles of the Annunciate by 17th-century artists.
To the left of the entrance is the Chapel of the Most Holy Annunciate, where the highly venerated image of the Virgin is preserved.
The elegant tempietto which encloses it was designed by Michelozzo and built by Pagno Portigiani in 1448; the small oratory next to it has a panel of the Holy Face by Andrea del Sarto.

The many side chapels in the nave are mainly of the 17th and 18th century, such as the Feroni Chapel, by Giovan Battista Foggini and others, a jewel of the Florentine baroque.
The Tribune has nine chapels which were completely transformed in the baroque period. Andrea del Castagno, one of the principal exponents of the Florentine renaissance style, was especially active in Santissima Annunziata: one of his frescoes is of St Julian, in the Feroni Chapel, another is of the Holy Trinity with St Jerome, in the adjacent chapel.'[3]

Santissima Annunziata | Chiesa della SS. Annunziata, Piazza SS. Annunziata, Firenze

Opening hours
Weekdays: 7.30 am - 12.30 pm; 4 pm - 6.30 pm
Holidays: 7.30 am - 12.30 pm; 4 pm - 6.30 pm

Churches in Florence| The Basilica della Santissima Annunziata

Andrea del Castagno, The Holy Trinity, St Jerome and Two Saints, c. 1453, (fresco), SS. Annunziata, Florence

Other churches in Florence

Chiesa di Santa Felicita


The oldest church of Oltrarno, the Chiesa di Santa Felicita, is renown for the masterpiece of Mannerist painting exposed in one of its chapels, the Deposition by Pontormo. During the centuries this church had many alterations before Ferdinando Ruggieri, in 1736, gave it its present appearance. In 4th Century a church was built on this place by the Christian community of Florence, which inhabitated on this side of the river, opposite to the Roman city; this early-christian building was subsequently modified and enlarged (in 11th Century, and then in 14th Century, when a tower located by the church was transformed in bell-tower), so that today only few fragments of the originary structure are still recognizable.

Santa Felicita is characterized by the Vasari Corridor (built in 1565) running across its façade and by the overall decoration by Federico Ruggeri completed in the years 1736-1739. The restoration of 1936 brought to light some rests of the original face of the Barbadori Chapel, built by Brunelleschi for the Capponi family.

Above the portico the façade is partly hidden by the Vasari Corridor, which joins Palazzo Vecchio and Pitti Palace and was built 1565 by Giorgio Vasari; under the portico we find some tombs (15th to 16th Century): among them, the one of Barduccio Chiericini (a merchant died in 1416) and the one of Cardinal Luigi dei Rossi (made in 1500 by Raffaello da Montelupo).
In the first chapel on the right (the Barbadori chapel, built in 1425 by Brunelleschi) are exposed two paintings by Pontormo: the famous Deposition (1528, on the altar) and the Annunciation (on the right of the altar). The Sacrysty (1470) was built by Michelozzo (or perhaps by Leon Battista Alberti) following the typical Brunelleschi's style. Among the paintings in the Sacrysty are to be mentioned the polyptychon with Madonna with the Child and Saints, by Taddeo Gaddi, and the Adoration of the Magi, by Francesco di Antonio (1450).

Entrance from: Piazza Santa Felicita.
Opening hours: Holydays: 9AM-1PM; Working days: 9-12AM; 3-6PM.

Jacopo Pontormo, The Deposition from the Cross
Santa Lucia dei Magnoli is small and very old church flanked by the palaces of Via de' Bardi. Following a tradition, Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Domenico met in 1211 in the hospital that was located at the side of the church.
The church was founded in 1078 on the initiative of the noblesman Uguccione della Pressa, and was once known also under the names of Santa Lucia dei Bardi (from the most important family of the quarter) or Santa Lucia delle Rovinate (referring to the landslips of the near hill of San Giorgio).
In 15th Century the church passed under the protection of the family Da Uzzano, who had built a palace near the church palazzo (today Palazzo Capponi delle Rovinate) and subventioned the frescoes in the main chapel. Other noble families (among them, Capponi and Mozzi) contributed to the decoration of the church: their coats of arms are to be seen on the façade and in the interior of the church.
Santa Lucia was frequently damaged by the landslpis of the hill of San Giorgio, and was rebuilt (and modified) in 1732, but subsequent restorations in 19th and 20th Centuries re-discovered the structure and decorations of the 15th Century. The façade was restored a few years ago.

Walking in Tuscany | Florence | San Niccolo Neighbourhood in Oltrarno
The Chiesa di San Jacopo Soprarno shows elements from different periods and styles - from Romanesque to Baroque. The San Jacopo in Soprarno was built in the 10th-11th century in Romanesque style. The church experienced heavy modifications, including the addition of a triple-arched portico; the has a Romanesque 12-13th century three-arched loggia taken from San Donato in Scopeto, which was destroyed in the siege of 1529.

According to the Renaissance art historian Giorgio Vasari, Filippo Brunelleschi built here a chapel, the Ridolfi Chapel, in which he studied, in smaller scale, architectural elements later later used in his famous dome of Santa Maria del Fiore. The chapel is now destroyed. Since 1542 it was held by Franciscans of the Minorite Order. The entrance portico was remade by order of Cosimo I de' Medici in 1580. The bell tower was designed by Gherardo Silvani in 1660.

The church was damaged when the Arno River flooded Florence in 1966. Repairs of the church after flood led to the restoration of some of the historical architectural features[1], and the discover of columns belonging to the original Romanesque church in the Baroque interior.

Chiesa di San Jacopo Soprarno
Chiesa di San Jacopo Soprarno

The Basilica della Santissima Annunziata (Basilica of the Most Holy Annunciation
) stands in a Renaissance piazza with rounded porticoes and fine decoration. In the center, there is the equestrian statue of the Grand Duke Ferdinand I, a work from 1608 by Pietro Tacca who was responsible for the very original bronze fountains alongside. The church itself was founded in 1260 to be the Oratory of the Servants of Mary. However, it was very soon renovated and enlarged because of growing devotion to the fresco of the Annunciation. The present church is preceded by a portico that leads you into the so-called "small cloister of votive tablets" and you pass from here into the main church which consists of one single nave with side chapels and a large round tribune at the end.
The interior was reconstructed in the mid 15th century, and renewed again in the second half of the 17th in a sumptuous Baroque style. Particularly worthy of note is the wooden ceiling, decorated in gold with paintings and precious in-lay carvings.
The front piece of the high altar is a splendid work in silver made by the Grand Duke's silversmith, Cosimo Merlini, an artist with Baroque tastes.


Basilica della Santissima Annunziata

This Chiostro dello Scalzo forms the entrance to the chapel of the Confraternity of the Disciplinati of St John the Baptist, known as the Cloister of the Scalzo, founded in 1376.

At various intervals between 1509 and 1526, the great Florentine artist Andrea del Sarto painted the walls with frescoes depicting Scenes from the life of St John the Baptist and the Virtues, except for two episodes that were painted by Franciabigio.
It is called "dello Scalzo" (barefoot) because the friar holding the cross used to go barefoot. The Chiostro dello Scalzo really shows Andrea del Sarto's painting path: it is an absolute masterpiece in the constant dialogue of space, architecture and figures highlighted by the use of monochrome.

Address: Chiostro dello Scalzo, Via Cavour 69.
Open Mon, Tue, Sat 8,15am-1.50pm.
Admission: free.


Choistro dello Scalzo, Florence
The Chiesa Santo Stefano al Ponte is a church in Florence. The church was originally constructed in the 11th and 12th century in a Romanesque style with a polychrome marble facade.
The annexed Diocesan Museum houses a panel with a Madonna by Giotto and exhibits works of art taken from other churches in town and in the territory of the diocese of Florence.
The Church of Santo Stefano al Ponte Vecchio was badly damaged during the second world war, and again by the 1966 flood.
It has a main entrance, which has a two-colored stone molding, dating back to late 13th century. The interior is rectangular, and originally had three aisles, which were merged into a single nave by F. Tacca between 1649 and 1655. The roof has exposed trellisbeams that are at two different elevations.
The church has now been deconsecrated, and hosts the Orchestra Regionale Toscana.


Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi is a religious complex in central Florence, Italy, including a church and a former convent in Borgo Pinti. The entrance to this church is an unassuming, unnumbered door on Borgo Pinti that opens onto a cloister designed by Giuliano da Sangallo in 1492.

The Pazzi name was added after a Carmelite nun, canonized in 1669, from the Pazzi family, who patronized the church. The original convent had been dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen delle Convertite, the patron of once-fallen, now "converted" women. The Cistercian order from Badia a Settimo took control of the site in 1332, and moved here in 1442, while the convent was transeferred to San Donato in Polverosa. However the church and chapter house were rebuilt between 1481-1500, with initial designs in 1492 by Giuliano da Sangallo. The 13th-century interiors were redecorated in the 17th and early 18th centuries, which removed prior altarpieces by masters such as Botticelli, Perugino, Lorenzo di Credi, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Raffaellino del Garbo. They were replaced by new ones, by minor masters such as Carlo Portelli, Alfonso Boschi, Domenico Puligo, Santi di Tito, and Francesco Curradi. In the chapter house is a fresco divided into three lunettes of the Crucifixion and Saints (1493-96) by Pietro Perugino, commissioned by Dionisio and Giovanna Pucci.

The first chapel to the right of the entrance is the Cappella del Giglio (Chapel of St. Mary of the Lily) frescoed with depictions of Saints Filippo Neri, Bernard, Nereo, and Achilleo by the studio of Bernardino Poccetti with an altarpiece by Domenico Passignano. The fourth chapel on the right has a stained glass window by Isabella, the daughter of Georges Henri Rouault. The choir chapel originally contained a fresco by Domenico Ghirlandaio, but was rebuilt in 1685-1701 by Ciro Ferri and Pier Francesco Silvani. Ferri painted the altarpiece and Luca Giordano the flanking pieces. The statues of Penitence and Faith on the right were sculpted by Innocenzo Spinazzi, while Innocence and Religion on the left by Giovanni Monatauti. The bronze reliefs on the altar were made by Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi.

The interior also contains works by Giovanni and Cosimo Bizzelli, Jacopo Chiavistelli, Ottavio Vannini, Cosimo Rosselli, Cosimo Gamberucci, Leonardo del Tasso, Giuseppe Servolini, and Giuseppe Piattoli among others.

Daily 9am-noon; Mon-Fri 5-5:20pm and 6-6:50pm; Sat 5-6:20pm; Sun 5-6:50pm

Entrance next to Borgo Pinti 58. Perugino Crucifixion, ring bell at no. 58 9-10am or enter through sacristy (knock at the last door on the right inside the church) at 5pm or 6:15pm daily

Churches in Florence | Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi


Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi,
the entrance with the portico


The photo library of the Kunsthistorisches Institute in Florence acquired the photographs that Hilde Lotz-Bauer produced in Florence between 1939 and 1943. The collection of about 750 photographs can be viewed in the Digital Photo Library on the Internet.
The décor of the Florentine Baptistery was commissioned by the guild of linen drapers and peddlers, which was rich in tradition (south door in bronze: Andrea Pisano, 1336; north portal in bronze: Lorenzo Ghiberti, completed in 1424; paradise door: Lorenzo Ghiberti, completed in 1452). The entire building is covered with geometric cladding of white and green marble. The transition from the so-called protorenaissance through the Gothic era to the Early Renaissance is visible in the décor and the structure of the building. The cathedral dome, the masterpiece completed by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1436, shapes the skyline of Florence, together the Baptistery and the Campanile by Giotto. From the Giotto tower, Lotz-Bauer photographed the majestic dome and the hills of Fiesole and Settignano. Hardly anyone would suspect the church constructed by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1444 behind the 18th century façade of Santo Spirito. With San Lorenzo (1421 onwards), Brunelleschi had already experimented with a church with three naves. In Santo Spirito, he goes further still in the unification of the interior. Almost 40 years later, Giuliano da Sangallo built the sacristy with an octagonal layout. The double pilasters on the walls are devoid of any tectonic function and serve purely decorative purposes in pietra serena.

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz | Churches
Address: Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Via Giuseppe Giusti 44, 50121 Firenze

[1] Domenico di Michelino was an Italian painter. He took his name from his teacher, a carver in bone and ivory named Michelino. He was elected to the Compagnia di S Luca in 1442 and joined the Arte dei Medici e degli Speziali on 26 October 1444. In 1459 he received payment from Lorenzo Pucci for a processional banner (untraced) for a confraternity based in S Francesco, Cortona. Four years later he was paid for some figures of saints (untraced) for a cupboard belonging to the Compagnia di S Maria della Purificazione e di S Zanobi, a Florentine confraternity of which he had been a member since 1445. Domenico di Michelino predominantly painted scenes from the Bible, however, his most famous work is the painting in the Florence Cathedral, Dante and the Three Kingdoms. He had his painterly training under Fra Angelico whose assistant he also became. His style is similar to that of Filippo Lippi and Pesellino. In this painting the three kingdoms are represented: the Purgatory in the centre background, the Hell at left, and the heavenly City at right. This painting is especially interesting because it shows us, apart from scenes of the Divine Comedy, a view of Florence in 1465, a Florence such as Dante himself could not have seen in his time.
[2] Anne Leader, The Badia of Florence: Art and Observance in a Renaissance Monastery, Indianan University Press, 2011.
In 1418, seventeen Benedictine monks left their home monastery in Padua for Florence, which they found bustling with economic, intellectual, and artistic activity. Focused and determined, they intended to reform one of their order’s oldest houses, the monastery of Santa Maria di Firenze, known familiarly as the abbey, or Badia, of Florence. Led by their charismatic Portuguese abbot Gomezio di Giovanni, these “colonists” brought strict order to the Badia through the institution of the newly established Benedictine Observance. Gomezio realized that reformed spiritual practice alone would be insufficient to secure the Badia’s stability and future success. He understood that in order to inspire and attract new members and benefactors, he had to rebuild the Badia’s body as well as its spirit. To this end, he ordered the monastery to be reconstructed around a new cloister decorated with vivid, engaging, and motivating frescoes depicting the Life of St. Benedict.
The Florentine Badia: Art and Observance in a Renaissance Monastery examines the monastery during this crucial period of reform and rebirth. Interdisciplinary in approach, it explores the renovated Badia as an integral part of the spiritual, political, and social life of Early Renaissance Florence, as crucial to the broader program to disseminate the Benedictine Observance throughout Italy, and as fundamental to refashioning Benedictine corporate identity. The Florentine Badia is significant not only for its role in Florence’s civic life and urban development, but also because its cloister survives as the earliest monastic commission to display the new architectural language of Brunelleschi and the revolutionary artistic vocabulary of Masaccio and Fra Angelico. By interweaving discussion of Renaissance art, architecture, monasticism, patronage, and Florentine social and political history, it provides a greater understanding of this fascinating monument and expands our knowledge of religious life, artistic patronage, and workshop practice in Early Renaissance Italy.
The cloister was built by Bernardo Rossellino in the 1430s. Unfortunately, the stone has not weathered well and the orange trees have long since disappeared, but the 15th century frescoes (detached and restored) of scenes from the ‘Life of St Benedict’ remain in fairly good condition. It is not known for certain who the frescoes are by, although a number of attributions have been made.
One possible contender is the Portuguese painter, Giovanni Gonsalvo, who is known to have arrived in Florence during the 1430s, the estimated date for the execution of the frescoes. More often than not, the artist is known, simply, as the Il Maestro di Chiostro degli Aranci, (The Master of the Cloister of Oranges). The frescoes decorate two of the four walls of the upper story of the cloister and have been detached at some point and restored. The scenes run anti-clockwise round the cloister and the first fresco in the cycle, St Benedict’s Departure for Rome, is on the wall to your right as you come up the stairs. The fourth scene on this wall stands out rather sharply as being the work of another artist. It is in fact by the young Bronzino. Raven removing the Poisoned Bread, which is in the middle of the west wall. The artist has casually hung a towel over the wooden pole that runs across the top of the room. The towel must have been an afterthought, for it is not present in the sinopia, which we can see on the opposite wall. (The cloister is only open on Monday afternoons from 3 until 6).
[3] Source: Museums in Florence |

Travel guide for tuscany | Art, history, hidden secrets and holiday homes in Tuscany | Podere Santa Pia

Podere Santa Pia
Podere Santa Pia, garden view, April

Monte Argentario, Tombolo di Feniglia



Castiglioncello Bandini


The Oratory of Santa Caterina in Bagno a Ripoli


Not far from the Baroncelli hills, along the panoramic Via del Carota in Ponte a Ema, we find the Santa Caterina delle Ruote a Rimezzano Oratory, gem of Bagno a Ripoli.
Located in an exceptionally scenic position within the Tuscan countryside, the Oratory of Santa Caterina, known as the Oratory "delle Ruote", is a rare gem of Italian Gothic.

The building presents a simple structure; on the hut-shaped facade is the architraved portal surmounted by a lunette and sheltered by a broad porch roof; The interior is formed by a single-aisle which ends in an altar recess marked out by two steps.
What makes the little Oratory unique is the stupendous circle of frescoes, going back to the second half of the fourteenth century, commissioned by the Alberti family and dedicated to the life and martyrdom of Saint Catherine of Alexandria or of The Wheel, symbolic figure of high medieval Christian culture about whom many legends and stories have flourished.
The Master of Barberino and his assistants frescoed the apse in 1360–65, and the cycle was completed by Spinello Aretino at the end of the century with the frescoes on the walls and vault.


The frescoed cyclesin the Oratorio di S. Caterina degli Alberti in Bagno a Ripoli portray scenes from the life of Saint Catherine of Alexandria.


Piazza della Santissima Annunziata
in Florence
Florence, Duomo

Florence | Transport