The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is renowned for its treasured collection of art and funerary monuments as well as its striking Gothic-Renaissance architecture. Built between the 13th and 15th century, it also has the pulpit from where the first attacks on Galileo and his scientific findings were launched.
The unique marble façade of the basilica is an artistic masterpiece with symmetrical geometric patterns, and the oldest of all surviving facades in Florence. The interior is laid out as a typical basilica, with a spacious nave flanked by aisles which have beautiful stained glass windows. The highlight of the artwork in the interiors is The Holy Trinity, with the Virgin and Saint John and donors fresco by Masaccio. In the sacristy is Giotto’s Crucifix with the Madonna and John the Evangelist. The numerous chapels are adorned with fine works of art, and the wooden Crucifix by Brunelleschi in the Gondi chapel is very impressive, with its Christ of Vitruvian proportions. The Tornabuoni Chapel is particularly noteworthy for its paintings illustrating the life stories of Virgin Mary.
The ticket to the basilica also gets you into the Museum of Santa Maria Novella, spread across the Chiostrino dei Morti (Cloister of the Dead cemetery), Chiostro Verde (Green Cloister), Cappellone degli Spagnoli (Spanish Chapel), and Ubriachi Chapel. See the preserved medieval frescoes, including Scenes from the Life of Noah by Paolo Uccello.
Basilica of Santa Maria Novella and Nearby Attractions on Map
Michelangelo's original 5m tall statue of David carved from a single slab of marble is kept at the Galleria dell ‘Academia, which also has other well known statues, paintings and carvings on display, well worth seeing.
Florence Baptistery(1.3 km)
The Baptistery de San Giovanni, built in 1128 AD on the foundations of a Roman temple, is one of Florence’s oldest monuments of Romanesque architecture with bronze doors at the Gate of Paradise, which are a replica of the original ones by Lorenzo Ghiberti kept at the Museo dell’Opera.
Florence Cathedral(1.3 km)
Soaring high above the city skyline, the Cathedral of Florence, Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore is the fourth largest cathedral in the world.
Palazzo Pitti(0.3 km)
The 16th century Palazzo Pitti was originally built by Brunelleschi for a wealthy banker, eventually became home to the Medici family and now houses several important museums and galleries on various items such as silver, porcelain and Renaissance clothing as well as more modern artworks from the 18th to 20th centuries AD.
Palazzo Vecchio(1 km)
The 13th century Gothic Palazzo Vecchio with ornate ceilings and frescoed walls was the seat of Florentine government during the 13th and 14th Centuries.
Piazza della Signoria(1 km)
Ponte Vecchio(0.7 km)
The most famous bridge on the river Arno is the 14th century arched ‘Old Bridge’ Ponte Vecchio that houses goldsmiths, jewelry workshops and the Signoria open arched gallery.
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