Florence's Dominican Basilica

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by airynfaerie on October 19, 2009

Of all of the major churches in Florence, Santa Maria Novella is one of the first to be built. As part of the Dominican order, this church is home to many important structures, not only the main basilica. Just recently the facade and piazza were cleaned and redone, so it's ready for your viewing pleasure - and a pleasure it will be.

Located just across from Florence's main train station by the same name, the Santa Maria Church boasts a grassy piazza that is very open and beautiful with shops and parking areas in the periphery. Designed by Dominican friars, the church was built between 1246 and 1360 in a mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles and some inspiration from the Classical Greek. One of the defining features (which happens to be my favorite) are the striped archways outlining the side of the church that you pass from the train station to the entrance of the basilica. These stripes carry into the interior arches along the ceiling as well.

The interior is like many basilicas of the time with the crossed layout, high arched ceilings, and pillars throughout. Some of highlighted art pieces of the interior are the stained glass windows of Madonna and Child by Lippi, the pulpit by Brunelleschi (where the first attacks against scientist Galileo were stated), paintings by Masaccio, large Crucifix by Giotto, and frescos by young Michelangelo.

Don't miss the cloisters, or the refectory which houses many liturgical robes and other pieces of original tools and clothing. Just down the street is the public entrance to the herbal pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella which is connected to the gardens to the church out back. Here is where the friars would study medicinal herbs, flowers, and roots for healing properties. Definitely one of the best smelling places in the city!

• http://giubileo.comune.fi.it/musei/smnovella/welcome.html
• Piazza Santa Maria Novella
• Church Open 9am - 5pm (Mon - Thurs), 1pm - 5pm (Fri, Sun); Museum Open 9am - 2pm (Mon-Thurs, Sat), 8am - 1pm (Sun)
• Church Admission 2.50euros; Museum Admission 1.40euros
Santa Maria Novella
Piazza Santa Maria Novella
Florence, Italy, 50123
+39 055215918


©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009