Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, Florence
This bustling five-cornered square before the church of Santa Maria Novella is closed to traffic, and looks most attractive, with its grass and flowers. The two marble obelisks surmounted by bronze lilies and supported by four tortoises are by Giambologna (1608), and mark the turning point for the annual horse race, the "Palio dei Cocchi".The south side of the square borders the Loggio di San Paolo.
Piazza di Santa Maria Novella Map
Transit: Bus: 1, 7, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 23, 31, 32, 36, 37.
The beautiful Old Bridge of Florence is known far and wide as a destination for gold. The shops lining the bridge have been selling precious metals since the 13th C.
The Academy Art Gallery in Florence houses works of art from the 13th to 16th C. Most visitors come to marvel at the extensive collection of items on display by the artist Michelangelo.
A prominent church in Florence, the church of Santa Maria Novella features elements of Romanesque-Gothic and Renaissance styles of architecture.
Dating back to 1294, Santa Croce is a church of the Franciscan order.
The Church of the Annunciation is known for its superb architecture and for the fine works of art housed within it.
The imposing Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, completed in 1464, houses a museum and library. The Palace also features quaint courtyards and gardens.
The Archeological Museum has great collections of Etruscan, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquities, and is one of the best archeological museums in northern Italy.
Built in the late 13th C the church of San Marco saw considerable changes throughout the centuries. Among the highlights is the Museo di San Marco, with a fine collection of paintings and frescoes.
The church of "Ognissanti" (All Saints), one of the first Baroque churches in Florence, dates back to a 13th century building but was completely renovated in the 16th and 17th centuries. Restoration work had to be carried out in 1872 and after the flood of 1966.The main features of the exterior are the glazed terracotta relief "Coronation of the Virgin with Saints", ascribed to both Giovanni della Robbia and Benedetto Buglioni, and the Romanesque Campanile. Inside, at the second altar on the right, are Domenico Ghirlandaio's "Madonna della Misericordia" (Madonna of the Protecting Cloakd, 1470), and a fresco with a Pietà by Domenico and Davide Ghirlandaio (1472). The sacristy contains a painting on wood of "Christ Crucified" in the style of Giotto and a fresco of the Crucifixion by Taddeo Gaddi.
Address: Piazza Ognissanti 42, I-50100 Florence, Italy
Opening hours: 8am-12pm, 4pm-6:30pm
Transit: Bus: 3, 6, 11, 16, 31, 32, 36, 37.
Entered through the transept or from the square (left of the facade), the cloister of All Saints' Church in Florence consists of Ionic columns and has 17th century frescoes with scenes from the life of St Francis.
Cenacolo del Ghirlandaio
The cloister leads into the refectory with its fresco of the Last Supper by Ghirlandaio that takes up the whole of the rear wall. Also here is Ghirlandaio's "St Jerome in his Chamber" (1480) and Sandro Boticelli's famous "Saint Augustine at Study".
Opening hours: 9am-12pm; Closed: Sun, Thu, Fri, Sat
Entrance fee: FREE
Michelangelo bought the house for his nephew Leonardo di Buonarroti but never lived in it himself. Leonardo's son, Michelangelo, decorated it and turned it into a memorial to the great artist. After a long period of dilapidation it was completely restored in 1964.The wooden crucifix (1494) from Santo Spirito, supposedly Michelangelo's earliest work for a church, is also interesting. Christ is depicted not as a man of sorrows but as a gentle handsome youth.Other items on display are models or copies of the works of Michelangelo or mementos of the artist's life. There are also sculptures and paintings by other masters.
Address: Via Ghibellina 70, I-50100 Florence, Italy
Opening hours: 9:30am-2pm; Closed: Thu
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Easter - Christian
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Photography prohibited.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Transit: Bus: 13, 14, 19, 23.
Two original sculptures by Michelangelo merit special attention: "Battle of the Centaurs and Lapiths", a marble relief which, although Michelangelo was only 17 when he created it, presages in the sense of movement and substantial nature of the figures, much of his later mastery; and "Madonna and Child" (or "Madonna della Scala"), Michelangelo's earliest work, completed at the age of 16. The signs of genius are already clearly marked in the sense of space, the flow and counterflow on the steps on the left (hence the name "Madonna of the Steps"), the rich expression of the profile, the fall of the mantle.
The Hospital of the Innocents was among the first Renaissance buildings in Florence. In the Galleria dello Spedale degli Innocenti are a number of 14th to 18th C works of art.
The wealthy English art critic Herbert Percy Horne (1864-1916) gave the State a valuable collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings, furniture and ancient ornaments and utensils which are now on display in the Palazzetto Horne.This building, also transferred to the State, was built in the late 15th century for the Alberti family, probably by Simone del Pollaiolo (Cronaca), and later belonged to the Corsi family. The collection was seriously damaged in the 1966 floods, especially the groundfloor exhibits.The first floor holds 14th-16th century paintings, including works by Simone Martini, Benozzo Gozzoli, Pietro Lorenzetti, Filippino Lippi and Bernardo Daddi. Among exhibits on the second floor are furniture made in Florence, drawings, roundels and terracottas (all 15th/16th century).
Address: Via dei Benci 6, I-50122 Florence, Italy
Opening hours: 9am-1pm; Closed: Sun
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), All Saints' Day - Christian (Nov 1), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee: FREE
Transit: Bus: 3, 13, 15, 18, 19, 23, 31, 32.
The large building of the National Library in Florence (built 1911-1935) on Corso dei Tintori, Via Magliabechi and Piazza dei Cavalleggeri, near the Santa Croce complex contains 24,721 manuscripts, 723,138 letters and documents, 3,780 incunabula, over four million books, 5,855 volumes and 4,451 sheets of music, 630 atlases and 14,754 geographical and topographical maps.Of especial value are an early 14th century copy of Dante's "Divine Comedy" (probably the oldest in existence), manuscripts by Galileo, and missals and bibles dating from before the invention of printing. The library goes as far back as the 13th century and preserves manuscripts by all the famous Florentines.
Address: Piazza dei Cavalleggeri 1, I-50100 Florence, Italy
Opening hours: 8:15am-7pm; Sat: 8:15am-1pm
Transit: Bus: 19, 31, 32.
The refectory of the former convent of St Onuphrius, which belonged to the Franciscan nuns of Foligno, contains Perugino's "Last Supper". It was seriously damaged in the 1966 floods. With this work Perugino proved that he was the equal in Florence of Andrea del Castagno and Ghirlandaio. His "Last Supper" can be viewed by appointment only (tel. 21 83 41).
Address: Via Faenza 42, I-50100 Florence, Italy
Useful tips: Rings the bell from 9am to 12pm daily.
Transit: Bus: 4, 7, 14, 19, 23, 28, 31, 32, 36, 37.
The first bridge upstream of the Ponte Vecchio is the Ponte alle Grazie, which was built in 1237 on the orders of Mandella, Podestà of Florence. The bridge withstood the 1333 flood but was so badly damaged in the Second World War that it had to be rebuilt in its modern form. The name of the bridge comes from a nearby chapel dedicated to the Virgin.
Transit: Bus: 3, 13, 15, 23, 31, 32.
Santa Maria Novella train station 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.
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