Santa Maria Novella

The Piazza Santa Maria Novella is a lively area with open air restaurants and shops and lots of open space to rest your weary feet! I was blown away by the beauty of the Basilica and it was hard to chose what photos to select for this story.


Piazza Santa Maria Novella

This church is a hybrid of various styles. You see the Gothic style with the pointed arch niches and decorative marble patterns. The central doorway has Corinthian columns and a triangular pediment. The S curve scrolls on either side of the upper story had no precedent in architecture. The facade is inlaid with green and white marble.  The interior has a central nave and two side aisles. The interior style is Florentine Gothic with highlights that include a 14th century stained glass rose window and 15th century frescoes and Brunelleschi’s famous wood crucifix carved around 1410.


Santa Maria Novella




Brunelleschi’s famous wooden crucifix

The Basilica is home to many art treasures found in the Great Cloister and Refectory like the extraordinary frescoes that date back to the first half of the 15th century.


Walls lined with Frescoes

The Cloister of the Dead was as it sounds the principal place for burials between the 13th and 14th centuries.

Churches burial-1.jpg

The Cloister of the Dead

The Great Cloister has 56 bays and was built between 1340 and 1360.  It is very moving to walk through these churches and thru the streets of Florence and think of all that came before us.  These walls are also covered in frescoes paid for by Florentine families and the Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici.


The Great Cloister of Santa Maria Novella

Basilica di San Lorenzo

The Basilica di San Lorenzo is one of the largest churches in Florence located in the main market district of the city. The Medici Chapels (below) within are the burial place for members of the Medici family as it was considered to be their official church. It was originally consecrated in 393 and then rebuilt in the Romanesque period with Filippo Brunelleschi as the architect although he never lived to see it finished.



Basilica di San Lorenzo, Medici chapels

Santa Croce

This area of the city was built up in the Middle Ages and is still packed with leather shops. The large square was used for jousts during the Renaissance and the ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ occurred here.

The Basilica began construction in 1294 and the Franciscan Friars were trying to outdo Santa Maria Novella whose rivals were the Dominicans. The design like the Duomo is Gothic and the construction continued for decades. The Neo-Gothic facade is a 19th century addition.

Basilica of Santa Croce


Jews had settled in Florence by the end of the 14th century. The synagogue is Moorish style and was begun in 1874.

Florence- Synagogue

Synagogue has 3 distinctive copper cupolas visible all over Florence

Limbo Church

The Limbo church from 1200 with its wooden roof and original floor and Roman columns. Frescoes adorn the walls.  Did you know that the sketch was done on the wall then the plaster was colored and it dries and becomes the wall?


Limbo church

Onward we go to the Chianti region.  Our home base was Villa Bordoni in Greve in Chianti. Enchanting and on my bucket list! If you missed the previous blogs on Florence here you go!  Florence: The Historic Center; Florence Revisited; Florence – The Renaissance