10 most beautiful churches to see in Florence
A good opportunity to visit the most beautiful churches in Florence which are important works of Gothic and Renaissance architecture and hide beautiful art masterpieces.
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
The "Duomo" , as the Cathedral is called, is the most important religious building in Florence since 1296 when its construction started. It was finished only 150 years later and it was the largest Christian church in the world before the building of St.Peter's Cathedral in Rome.
Its Dome, designed by the Architect Filippo Brunelleschi in 1420 is the greatest masterpiece of Renaissance architecture and still the biggest masonry dome in the world.
Baptistery of Saint John the Baptist
Right in front of the Cathedral stands the Baptistery which is the oldest building in Florence, built in the VIII century a.C. , a very beautiful example of Romanesque architecture. Its main door is decorated with ten panels in golden bronze representing ephisodes of the Ancient Testament with a perfect use of depth and perspective and it is called the Gate of Paradise.
Basilica of Santa Croce
The Basilica of Santa Croce is a franciscan church built at the end of the 1200's and it is known as the "Temple of Italian Glories", where very important people from Italy are buried such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Rossini and many others. It shows a very beautiful Gothic architecture with paintings, frescoes and stained glass windows. In the ancient convent you find the oldest leather workshop of Florence, called the Leather School, where leather bags, purses and garments are still handmade by skilled artisans.
Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
It was built in the western side of Florence by the Dominican monks at the end of the XIII° century and its stunning facade in white and green marbles designed by Leon Battista Alberti is the most beautiful Renaissance facade. The inside of this church houses important art masterpieces by Masaccio, Giotto, Ghirlandaio, Brunelleschi. In the ancient convent you can find the Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, a perfumery and herbalist shop which since 1612 makes lotions, soaps, body and home fragrances as well as natural medicines following the ancient recipes of the monks.
Basilica of San Lorenzo
The Basilica of San Lorenzo was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and it was the church of the Medici Family, where all the members of this family are buried. In the Medici Chapels there are important sculptures carved by Michelangelo who designed the facade too, but never built it, that's why today the church is still unfinished, with a facade just in bricks.
Basilica of Santo Spirito
Located in the Oltrarno district, the Southern part of Florence, this is another important work of Renaissance architecture by Brunelleschi. There are private chapels along the walls which belonged to the noble families of Florence in the 1400's and each of them is decorated with beautiful paintings by important Renaissance artists. In the sacristy a special art treasure is hidden: a wooden crucifix carved by Michelangelo at 18 years old, for the monks of this church who allowed the young artist to do his studies of anatomy in the hospital of the convent.
Basilica of Santissima Annunziata
This church is dedicated to the Holy Annunciation and it is very much visited by Catholic people who have a deep devotion for a painting considered miraculous. Since the Middle Ages many citizens have made rich donations to this church which is now the most beautifully decorated church in Florence, with paintings, frescoes and sculptures by great artists such as Bronzino, Pontormo,Andrea del Sarto, Giambologna.
Basilica of San Marco
The Church and Convent of San Marco were built in the XV° century thanks to a very rich donation of Cosimo the Elder of the Medici Family, who was the wealthiest banker in Europe. It is a Dominican Church whose convent is today visible to the public as a museum, where each cell is decorated with a fresco by Beato Angelico, an important Renaissance artist.
Basilica of Santa Maria del Carmine
Not far from the the Church of Santo Spirito in the Oltrarno District is this church with an unfinished facade, but where you can find one of the most important masterpieces of Renaissance painting: the Brancacci Chapel painted by Masaccio and Masolino at the beiginning of the XV°century. The walls of this chapel are decorated with frescoes which show the first outstanding scenes with depth, perspective and monumental figures completely different from medieval painting. This Chapel is called the "School of the world", where Botticelli, Leonardo and Michelangelo learnt the new painting technique.
Basilica of San Miniato
It is located on top of one of the most beautiful hills of Florence and it is one of the oldest churches ,whose roots dates back to the Roman times when Christians were not yet allowed to built their temples in the city. The current building is from the 1300's and shows a beautiful golden mosaic in the facade. The church has got three levels, and in the crypt you can see the relics of Saint Minias one of the first martyrs of Christianism, killed in Florence. The view from this church is fantastic and this is the most favourite church for weddings in Florence.
and one more....
Church of Orsanmichele
Walking along Via Calzaioli from the Cathedral Square to the Signoria Square you find on your right a huge, tall bulding in stones with statues all around. It was built in the XIV ° century to be a public barn for the sale of wheat, which was partly destroyed by a fire. It was then rebuilt as a church dedicated to Saint Michael and beautifully decorated with monumental sculptures by Donatello, Ghiberti, Andrea del Verrocchio under the patronage of the guilds of Florence.
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