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Piazza Santa Maria Novella
Travel guide for Tuscany
       
   

Walking in Tuscany | Florence | Santa Maria Novella

   
   

You can start this tour from Santa Maria Novella, the main railway station in Florence built in 1933/35 by Michelucci Group. Take via degli Avelli, in front of the train station and arrive in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, the church is one of the most famous and beautiful churches in Florence, rich of masterpieces. Admire the square and the façade by Leon Battista Alberti. You need the whole morning to visit the church and the Cappellone degli Spagnoli, the green cloister (Description in “Churches” section) – You can have a free tour of the church. Coming out from the church, go to the left in via delle Belle Donne there is a little square with a column: The Croce al Trebbio (1338) with the symbols of the Evangelists.


Via Tornabuoni

The Via de' Tornabuoni has served as the setting for pageants and processions to the cathedral and baptistery since mediaeval times. In the 15th and 16th centuries, influential Patrician families such as the Strozzis, Tornabuonis and Vivianis built their palaces here.

The Via Tornabuoni, the fashionable street of Florence, with its gay shops and Jockey Club, received its name from a family, whose history contains little remarkable, except that a lady of the house, Lucrezia Tornabuoni, noted for her literary attainments, became the wife of Piero de' Medici, and the mother of Lorenzo the Magnificent; and that Nicolò Tornabuoni, Bishop of Borgo San Sepolcoro, in 1560 introduced the use of tobacco into Tuscany, which was first known as the Erba Tornabuona.[1]

Since the 18th century, these buildings have often been used as an imposing backdrop in graphical portrayals of the Via de' Tornabuoni as a place for urban promenading, whereby the visualisations by Giuseppe Zocchi, the eminent Florentine copper engraver (died in 1767) were used as templates. Emilio Burci’s view of the monumental west front of the Palazzo Strozzi towards the north points to the Palazzo Viviani and Palazzo Corsi, both bathed in sunlight, in a similarly sweeping manner. Here, the old front of the Palazzo Corsi (formerly Tornabuoni) is visible with the Cigolis Loggia, which disappeared when the road was widened in the 1860s. A purely architectural interest is hidden behind the printed elevations of individual palaces.


Emilio Burci, View of the Via de' Tornabuoni with the Palazzo Strozzi, circa 1840/1850, aquatint and etching, 23.3 x 27 cm


If you go to your left, you arrive near Via Tornabuoni, if you take via Rucellai, on the right, you arrive in Piazza Rucellai, also this square was planned by Leon Battista Alberti. The important Rucellai palace was built in 1455/70. On the ground floor now there is the Museum of the History of photography Alinari Bros. The loggia dates back to 1463/66. Walk along the palace and arrive in Piazza San Pancrazio, there is one more building of Rucellai family by Alberti: the Rucellai Chapel (the entrance is in via della Spada) Inside you can visit the beautiful little temple of the Holy Sepulchre, made by Leon Battista Alberti (1467).
In the ex Church of St. Pancrazio now you can visit the Museum of Marino Marini (1901/1980).

Walk along these streets and arrive in Via della Scala, at nr 16 you can find the famous old Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella. This was the ancient pharmacy of the monastery.

Now walk along via della Scala and in Via Orti Oricellari (the name comes from Rucelai name), there is the palace of Venturi Ginori family. At the end of the street there is a triangular space named “Il Prato”. Here, on the right, you can see a very high old wooden door this is the “house” of the cart. The explosion of the cart is an ancient ceremony which takes part every Easter Sunday in front of the cathedral and which dates back to the first Crusade.
 

 

   
   

Duomo, the Basilica di Santa Maria dell Fiore
Florence | Santa Maria Novella

The Dominican monks, Sisto and Ristoro, are traditionally credited with the planning and construction of the Church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The plan of the building, a Latin cross with square chapels jutting out from the east side of the transept, was used for Franciscan models. The dynamic concept differs, from the slender cross vaults to acute pointed arches separating the nave, but with a greater spatial unity.


1. Facade (Giovan Battista Alberti)
2. Martyrdom of Saint Laurence (Girolamo Macchietti)
3. Adoration of the Shepherds (Giovan Battista Naldini)
4. Presentation in the temple (Giovan Battista Naldini)
5. Descent from the Cross (Giovan Battista Naldini)
6. The Predictions of Vincent Ferrer (Jacopo Coppi del Meglio)
7. Jacopo Ligozzi
8. Cappella della Pura (Wooden crucifix by Baccio da Montelupo)
9. Resurrection of Lazarus (Santi di Tito)
10. The Good Samaritan (Alessandro Allori)
11. The Holy Trinity (Masaccio)
12. Madonna of the Rosary ((Giorgio Vasari)
13. Altar: Poccetti
14. San Giacinto (Alessandro Allori)
15. Pulpit-Filippo Brunelleschi / Buggiano
16. Sacresty
17. Chapel Strozzi di Mantova (Frescoes by Nardo di Cione)
18. Chapel del Campanile
19. Chapel Gaddi
20. Chapel Gondi
21. Chapel Maggiore (Tornabuoni)
22. Chapel of Filippo Strozzi
23. Chapel Bardi
24. Chapel Rucellai
25. Buste de Saint Antonino
26. Way to the Cloisters
A. Green Cloister
B. Spanish Chapel

C. Refectorium
D. Grand Cloister

 

E. Chiostrino dei Morti
F. Burial Ground
 

The Tornabuoni Chapel



The Tornabuoni Chapel (Italian: Cappella Tornabuoni) is the main chapel (or chancel) in the church of Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy. It is famous for the extensive and well-preserved fresco cycle on its walls, one of the most complete in the city, which was created by Domenico Ghirlandaio and his workshop between 1485 and 1490.

The main chapel of Santa Maria Novella was first frescoed in the mid-14th century by Andrea Orcagna. Remains of these paintings were found during restorations in the 1940s: these included, mostly in the vault, figures from the Old Testament. Some of these were detached and can be seen today in the Museum of the church.
By the late 15th century, Orcagna's frescoes were in poor condition. The Sassetti, a rich and powerful Florentine family who were the bankers of the Medici, had long held the right to decorate the main altar of the chapel, while the walls and the choir had been assigned to the Ricci family. However, the Ricci had never recovered from their bankruptcy in 1348, and so they arranged to sell their rights to the choir to the Sassetti. Francesco Sassetti wanted the new frescoes to portray stories of St. Francis of Assisi. However, the Dominicans, to whom Santa Maria Novella was entrusted, refused. Sassetti therefore moved the commission to the church of Santa Trinita, where Ghirlandaio executed one of his masterworks, the Sassetti Chapel. The rights to the chapel in Santa Maria Novella that were lost by the Sassetti were then sold by the Ricci to Giovanni Tornabuoni.
Ghirlandaio, who then had the largest workshop in Florence, did not lose the commission however, because on September 1, 1485 Giovanni Tornabuoni commissioned him to paint the main chapel, this time with the lives of the Virgin and St. John the Baptist, patron of Tornabuoni and of the city of Florence. It is possible that the new scenes followed the same pattern as Orcagna's.
Ghirlandaio worked to the frescoes from 1485 to 1490, with the collaboration of his workshop artists, who included his brothers Davide and Benedetto, his brother-in-law Sebastiano Mainardi and, probably, the young Michelangelo Buonarroti. The windows were also executed according to Ghirlandaio's design.

The cycle portrays on three walls the Life of the Virgin and the Life of St John the Baptist, the patron saint of Florence. The left and right walls each have three rows, each divided into two rectangular scenes framed by fictive architecture, and surmounted by a large lunette beneath the vault. Each side wall has a total of seven narrative scenes which are read beginning from the bottom.

The chancel wall has a large mullioned window of three lights with stained glass, provided in 1492 by Alessandro Agolanti after Ghirlandaio's design. On the lower part of the wall is a donor portrait of Giovanni Tornabuoni and his wife Francesca Pitti, while on either side of the window are four smaller scenes portraying Dominican saints. Above the window is another large lunette, containing the Coronation of the Virgin. In the vault are depicted the Four Evangelists.

Art in Tuscany | Domenico Ghirlandaio | The Tornabuoni Chapel

The Tornabuoni Chapel The Tornabuoni Chapel


Domenico Ghirlandaio: Zachariah in the Temple [detail]: Marsilio Ficino, Cristoforo Landino, Angelo Poliziano and Demetrios Chalkondyles

 
   

[1] Walks in Florence : churches, streets and palaces, by Susan and Joanna Horner.
   

Art in Tuscany | Florence Piazzas | Le piazze di Firenze
Art in Tuscany | Florence | Santa Maria Novella


This article incorporates material from the Wikipedia article Santa Maria Novella published under the GNU Free Documentation License.

 

     

 


Holiday accomodation in Tuscany


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Rocca di Tentennano
Podere Santa Pia
 
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Madonna di Vitaleta Chapel, San Quirico d'Orcia


         


Villa Celsa near Florence
Piazza della Santissima Annunziata
in Florence
Choistro dello Scalzo, Florence
         
Chiesa di Santa Maria Novella
Address
| Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 50123 Firenze (FI)
Opening hours | Open weekdays 9 a.m. - 5.30 p.m.
Fridays 11 a.m. - 5.30 p.m.
Saturdays 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sundays and religious holidays 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

The museum, adjacent to the church, is managed by the city of Florence and foresees a separate admission fee. The ticket includes a visit to the Green Cloister with frescoes by Paolo Uccello with scenes from the Old Testament and, being outside, are in bad shape but can still be admired.
The Chapter House, called the Cappellone degli Spagnoli or Spanish Chapel ever since it was used by the courtiers of Eleanor of Toledo, wife of Cosimo I. The chapel features frescoes by Andrea di Bonaiuto depicting Jesus Christ's passion, death and resurrection on the front wall as you enter. To the right, in the Triumph of the Doctrine, the dogs of God (a pun on the word Dominican - domini canes) are sent to round up lost sheep into the fold of the church. To the left, another fresco the Triumph of the Catholic Doctrine while the entrance wall frescoes depict stories of the life of St. Peter Martyr.
The tour ends in the ancient refectory where precious liturgical objects belonging to the church's sacristy are on display as well as a few recovered synopses from Orcagna's frescoes in the Tornabuoni chapel.

   
   
Choosing one of the Florence walking tours you'll be able to visit the world-famous museums of the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries, discovering the main historical and artistic treasures of the city.
The tours focus on Florence's major sights and attractions, including the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio and the city's famous churches and Renaissance palaces.
Novelist Henry James called Florence a “rounded pearl of cities -- cheerful, compact, complete -- full of a delicious mixture of beauty and convenience.” The best way to experience the Italian city’s artistry, history and joy of life is by walking the same paths that the Medicis, Michelangelo and James once used.


1 | A Walk Around the Uffizi Gallery

2 | Quarter Duomo and Signoria Square

3 | Around Piazza della Repubblica

4 | Santa Maria Novella

5 | San Niccolo Neighbourhood in Oltrarno

6 | Walking in the Bargello Neighbourhood

7 | From Fiesole to Settignano

 

 

San Miniato al Monte
Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence
Piazza della Santissima Annunziata
in Florence
Florence, Duomo