Santa Maria Novella

This is an excerpt from the book “Florence in two days“.

Santa Maria Novella Cloister
Santa Maria Novella Cloister

SANTA MARIA NOVELLA

SANTA MARIA NOVELLA RAILROAD STATION
This is one of the first buildings of Italian rational architecture. It was designed by a team headed by Giovanni Michelucci, and was built between 1933 and 1935.

FORTEZZA DA BASSO

Designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (1533-35), the Fortezza was recently remodeled and is now an exhibition and conference center.

CHURCH AND MUSEUM OF SANTA MARIA NOVELLA

Begun in 1246 for Dominican friars, the church was completed in 1360. The white and green marble Gothic-Romanesque façade was completed by Leon Battista Alberti who designed the upper part. Inside the church there are splendid masterpieces including “The Trinity” by Masaccio, frescoes by Filippino Lippi and Ghirlandaio in the Tornabuoni chapel, a Crucifix by Giotto and a wooden Crucifix by Brunelleschi. The Museo di Santa Maria Novella is adjacent to the church. Here you can admire the splendid Green Cloister frescoed by Paolo Uccello and his school. In the Chapter Room, known as the “Cappellone degli Spagnoli” is a famous fresco by Bonaiuto.

Just a short distance from the church is the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, where perfumes, soaps and fragrances are made and sold in a Neogothic setting. MUSEO MARINO MARINI The deconsecrated church of S. Pancrazio houses the museum dedicated to Marino Marini, one of the foremost 20th century Italian sculptors. Near the museum, in the Rucellai Chapel is the extraordinary Temple of the Holy Sepulchre by Leon Battista Alberti.

PALAZZO RUCELLAI

Bernardo Rossellino built this palazzo for Giovanni Rucellai to designs by Leon Battista Alberti between 1446 and 1458. The loggia is also attributed to Alberti.

MUSEO DI PALAZZO DAVANZATI

This building dates from the mid-14th century. In the early years of the 20th century it was purchased by the antique dealer Elia Volpi, who restored and furnished it to recreate a period Florentine home. The many rooms, several of which are decorated with frescoes and fine coffered ceilings, contain carved and inlaid furniture, chests, benches, paintings, tapestry, sculptures, ceramics, items used every day and in the kitchens.

Palazzo Strozzi
Palazzo Strozzi

PALAZZO STROZZI

Filippo Strozzi the Elder commissioned Benedetto da Maiano to build this palace. He began working in 1489 and was replaced by Cronaca who built the cornice and courtyard. Palazzo Strozzi is one of the finest expressions of Renaissance architecture.

One of the wealthiest merchants of Florence, Filippo Strozzi, built this grand edifice in 1489, in order to imitate, but also to rival, Palazzo Medici. Although the architect was probably Benedetto da Maiano, Simone Pollaiolo, known as “il Cronaca”, was responsible for the very well developed, projecting eaves.

The building, however, remained unfinished because, during the 16th century, the Strozzis rebelled against Medici domination and a part of the premises was confiscated.
The courtyard was beautifully proportioned and solidly constructed even for the 16th century.
Today the building houses cultural institutions and is used for exhibitions.

CHURCH OF SANTA TRINITA

This church, built in the second half of the 11th century, was enlarged and modified according to the Gothic style in the early 14th century. The pietra forte façade was made to designs by Buontalenti towards the end of the 16th century. The major artworks inside the church are the Sassetti Chapel with the fresco cycle depicting “Scenes from the Life of St. Francis of Assisi” and the panel painting of the “Adoration of the Shepherds” by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1483-86).

CENACLE OF GHIRLANDAIO

The former refectory of the monastery adjacent to the Church of Ognissanti is graced by Domenico Ghirlandaio’s painting of the “Last Supper”, of which even the synopia is visible.

Where to stay in Florence

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