Centre :: East :: West :: Oltrarno :: Fiesole

Introduction :: The List :: The Lost


 

East
La Crocetta
Gesù Pellegrino
Montedomini
San Basilio
San Domenico al Maglio
San Francesco de'Macci
San Francesco al Tempio
San Francesco Poverino (oratory)
San Giuseppe
San Marco
San Niccolò del Ceppo
San Pier Maggiore
(demolished)
San Pierino
(oratory)
San Procolo
San Remigio
San
(Michele a San) Salvi
San Tommaso d'Aquino
(oratory)
Sant'Ambrogio
Sant'Egidio
Santa Croce
Santa Maria degli Angeli
Santa Maria degli Angiolini
Santa Maria dei Candeli
Santa Maria della Croce al Tempio
Santa Maria in Campo
Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi
(de’Pazzi or Cestello)
Santa Teresa
Santa Verdiana
Santi Jacopo e Lorenzo
Santi Simone e Guida
Santissima Annunziata
Spedale degli Innocenti
Valdese
Holy Trinity

 

 

 

 

La Crocetta
via Laura


History

The convent of La Crocetta, more formally known as the Monastero di Santa Croce, got its nickname from the small red cross the nun's wore on their robes, was founded by Suor Domenica da Paradiso, in 1511. Formally approved by Pope Leo X in May 1515, building work was finished by 1519, with the financial help of Cosimo de 'Medici. Expanded and renovated by Giulio Parigi in 1612, work which included the building of the corridors over the road which still remain (see right). From the late 16th Century into the first half of the 17th the convent was a notable centre of musical performance.

Suppressed in 1808 the complex has been put to various legal, medical educational uses in the years since, briefly returning to religious use in 1816, it was used in the years that Florence was the capital of Italy (1865-1871) as the Court of Auditors, the nuns having been moved, with the relics of their founder, to the via Aretina, to the east of Florence, where they remain.

The former convent and church are now, following renovation work  in 2008/9, used by the University of Florence. The Hotel Morandi alla Crocetta incorporates the nun's chapel.

Domenica da Paradiso
Domenica Narducci, called Domenica da Paradiso, was a nun who acquired her name having been the daughter of a gardener who worked in the convent in Paradiso, a suburb of Florence. She took orders at the Augustinian convent of Santa Maria dei Candeli, where she was unimpressed by the spirit-sapping drudgery of the nun's life, especially for a nun with a peasant background. She fell ill and was allowed to leave the convent. There followed a short stay at the convent of Santa Brigida at Paradiso which was even more constricting and so she moved to Florence with some like-minded women, where the group so gathered around her fell under the Savonarolan influence of the friars of San Marco. But the protracted furore surrounding Dorotea da Lanciuole, another founder of a female religious house with a similar background to Domenica, who was found to have been faking her claim to have been miraculously surviving without earthly sustenance, led to her splitting from the Savonarolan Dominicans, claiming she had had a visitation from St Dominic himself. After having established her convent, with support from the Medici, who were happy to support an anti-Savonarola faction, she retained her influence, and reputation for controversy, through the Medici's expulsion and restoration and was later beatified.

Miraculous images
Before the founding of the nunnery Suor Domenica, on her way to SS Annunziata to pray before the celebrated miraculous Annunciation, heard a voice say 'Dominica, free me from this disgrace'. The voice turned out to be coming from a Nativity displayed in a nearby painter's shop, amongst images of lascivious subjects. This image was later placed above the altar in the nun's inner church. It was thought to be what saved the convent from a fire in July 1515, said to have been started by the devil. When the fire broke out Suor Domenica preyed before the the Nativity for help, and the Virgin told her to make the sign of the cross, which did the trick. Following the fire the image was moved to the high altar of the convent's public church, and a painting depicting the miracle was installed.

Lost art
Christ on the road to Calvary by Antonio del Ceraiulo, painted for the high altar in the  public church here, is now in the Antinori chapel in Santa Croce. Antonio del Ceraiulo was a pupil of Lorenzo di Credi. Lorenzo was an early follower of Suor Domenica and his niece Benedetta was a nun here.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

The original buildings in the late 16th Century,
so before the expansion of 1612.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gesù Pellegrino
via San Gallo


History
Also known as the Oratorio dei Pretoni. Formerly the church of San Salvatore and belonging to the confraternity of that name, until in 1312 it became a hospice for elderly priests and pilgrim clerics and was dedicated to San Jacopo. Modernised for the Medici 1585-88 by architect Giovanni Antonio Dosio. At this time were painted the three altarpieces and a fresco cycle Scenes from the Life of Christ (1590) by Giovanni Balducci. Suppressed by Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo in 1785.

Contains the tomb of Arlotto Mainardi, the parish priest of San Cresci a Marcoli between 1426 and 1468. The subject of a famous painting by Il Volterrano (Baldassare Franceschini) The Parson's Jest (see below), he was famous for his sense of humour. The inscription on the tomb reads 'Piavano Arlotto had this sepulchre made for himself, and for anyone who wants to join him'.


 

Montedomini
via dei Malcontenti 6

 
History

Originally the hospital of San Sebastiano, founded  in 1464 for victims of the plague on land granted to the hospital of Santa Maria Nuova. Later used by two Franciscan orders of nuns (from Santa Maria a Montedomini and Santa Maria a Monticelli). Following the suppression of the two convents in 1810 they were merged and redesigned in a neo-classical style as a hospice for the elderly in the early 19th Century by Giuseppe del Rosso, becoming a workhouse in 1860, then being known as the Pia Casa di Lavoro.

The church of the Monticelli was deconsecrated during the 19th Century rebuilding, being divided into two floors and becoming a dormitory.
The other church, which had belonged to the Montedomini, which had been consecrated in 1573, was retained. It has a vault painted with The Virgin holding her Child out to San Francesco by Agostino Veracini in the 18th Century, and a nun's gallery, not surprisingly. It became a parish church in 1816. It is also said to house a large wooden Crucifix and a copy of the Madonna of the Harpies by Andrea del Sarto. There's also The Death of San Romualdo by Giuseppe Grifoni, from S. Maria degli Angeli.

A wing of the hospice used as a military hospital from 1894-1938 has painted decoration by Galileo Chini. The complex is now partly also used by the University.

Lost art
An action-packed  Martyrdom of Santo Stefano (1597) by Ludovico Caldi (Il Cigoli) commissioned by Zaccaria Tondelli for this church, is in the Palatine Gallery in the Pitti Palace.
 

San Basilio
via San Gallo

  
 

History
Founded in 1332 by Basilian monks, known as Ermini (Armenians). At the end of the 15th Century it was used as a hospice by the Congregation of the Priests of the Holy Ghost - a glazed Della Robbia terracotta roundel with a (headless) white dove on the wall facing Via San Gallo is a relic of this time. Various alterations until taken over in 1939 by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The last renovation was in 2008.
 


 

 

San Domenico al Maglio
via Micheli




 
 
History

A Dominican convent built around 1297 for the nuns that had come to Florence from San Jacopo in Ripoli in 1292.
The façade was decorated with a fresco by Fra Angelico. Suppressed in 1808, the complex became a military hospital in 1838. In 1930 the church was made into a lecture hall. The whole complex saw major restoration work in 1982. Currently it houses the Military Centre for Forensic Medicine and a museum of Military Medicine.

The cloisters
The larger of the two cloisters, built between 1560 and 1580, is visible from the via Cherubini, the wall on the fourth side of the cloister having been pulled down in 1924 to make this possible. In the same year a Monument to the Fallen Doctor was created by sculptor Henry Minerbi and installed in the centre of the cloister. It commemorates the Italian doctors who were killed in World War 1, with bronze figures cast from the metal of the Austrian guns, melted together with the medals of  medical officers.

Lost art
Biagio D'Antonio's Madonna and Child with Saints of c.1470, now in Budapest. Vasari attributed the altarpiece, then still in this church, to Andrea del Verrocchio. Only with the publication of a monograph on Biagio d'Antonio by Roberta Bartoli in 1999 was the cat truly set amongst the pigeons, attribution-wise.


Cosimo Rosselli's Saint Catherine with saints and nuns, now in the National Gallery of Art of Scotland in Edinburgh is accepted as coming from here despite the lack of documentary  proof.


From the 16th Century Buonsignori Map.

San Francesco de'Macci
via de Macci


History
A hospital was founded here in 1335 by the Macri family, with an attached convent and a church known as San Francesco al Tempio. It was run by the Poor Clares, providing refuge for battered wives.

In 1704 the church was rebuilt with the assistance of the Medici under the direction of Giovan Battista Foggini, and decorated with frescoes by Pier Dandini. It lost its great altarpiece by Andrea del Sarto, The Madonna of the Harpies, which the Grand Prince Fedinando had moved into his private apartment in Palazzo Pitti, and which is now in the Uffizi. Over the door of the church are the words Auxilium christianorum (Help of Christians) i.e. the Virgin. The church is now deconsecrated.

Lost art
Andrea del Sarto's Madonna of the Harpies (see right) signed and dated 1517. Begun on May 14 1515, the date of the contract signed with the Poor Clares of the convent of San Francesco de'Macci, who had commissioned the painting. Now in the Uffizi, it was in the Tribune there in 1785, having been acquired by Ferdinando de' Medici in 1704 in exchange for his paying for rebuilding work here. The painting is named for the strange figures carved into the pedestal, which Vasari identified as harpies but which aren't. It is also unusual in having the putti grasping the Virgin's legs and the direct gazes of Saints Francis and John the Evangelist. The Christ child is oddly beefy too, with a strange smile on his face.

 



 

San Francesco Poverino
Piazza SS Annunziata


History
The oratory of the Confraternity of San Gerolamo e San Francesco Poverino in San Filippo Benizi (as it is still named) was built at the south end of the Loggia of the Servites, opposite the Foundlings' Hospital, in 1599 for the Company of San Filippo Benizi, an order which which was later suppressed. In 1785 it passed to the Confraternity of Santa Maria della Pietà which had come from the hospital of San Matteo. In 1844 the Fellowship of San Francesco Poverino moved here too when their oratory in via San Zanobi was destroyed. Many works of art and fitting from these orders are said to be preserved inside. These works are said to include a miracle-working crucifix from the late 14th Century and a terracotta figure from 1454 of The Penitent St Jerome. The building has recently undergone restoration work, but it's only open for services, at 10.00am on Sundays and Holy Days. This work included the restoration of  the central ceiling fresco representing San Filippo Benizi in Glory painted by Gennaro Landi in the 18th Century. Scenes from the life of  San Filippo Benizi were also frescoed in the Chiostrino dei Voti of the nearby church of Santissima Annunziata by Andrea del Sarto and Cosimo Rosselli.

The funeral service of English art historian John Pope-Hennessy (a.k.a. ‘the Pope’) was held here, following his death in October 1994.

In recent years it seems to have been put to use as a centre feeding Florence's poor and homeless.
 

San Giuseppe
via di San Giuseppe



History
The Confraternity of St Joseph, founded in 1405, met in a small oratory near the Ospedale del Tempio. A miracle-working painting of The Madonna and Child on the corner of via San Giuseppe brought them sufficient offerings to pay for the present building. The church was designed, according to Vasari, by
Baccio d'Agnolo. Building began in 1519, consecration followed in 1522 and the work was completed in 1583. In that year the complex passed from the Confraternity to the Friars Minim of San Francesco di Paola. In 1754 the interior was frescoed by Sigismondo Betti and Pietro Anderlini and in 1759 a new façade was built. When the Friars Minim were suppressed by Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo in 1784, the convent was put to other uses and the church was made a parish church. The doorway, possibly based on a design by Michelangelo, was added in 1852. The decorated oratory and campanile were added in 1934 to the original designs by Baccio d'Agnolo.

Interior and art highlights
Aisleless and baroque with three deep chapels on each side and a full-width choir with a hanging crucifix over the high altar. The frescoes on the barrel-vaulted ceiling and over the choir are by Sigismondo Betti, with trompe l'oeil architectural perspectives by Pietro Anderlini. The flooring had to be remade after the flood of 1966, the pavement of the first chapel on the right (see below) giving an idea of the flooring destroyed by the flood. The choir and inner facade have nine canvases by Francesco Bianchi Buonavita dated 1650. The marble high altar was made in 1930. Two works by Santi di Tito. A damaged Madonna and Child by Taddeo Gaddi which, along with a carved wooden Crucifix, belonged to Santa Maria della Croce al Tempio, is mentioned but wasn't in the church on either of my two recent visits. And the rectangular painting that is in the central chapel on the right, where the Gaddi should be, looks to have been fitted in by chipping bits out of the existing stone frame. But one chapel does contain that rare thing - a 20th Century fresco, done in 1933-4 and very flood damaged.



The crucifix is the one that used to be carried by the hooded 'Battuti Neri' from the nearby church of Santa Maria della Croce al Tempio as they accompanied condemned criminals along the Via dei Malcontenti to the scaffold outside the Porta della Giustizia. This road, on which San Giuseppe stands, is named for the condemned who walked down it who were first brought to a chapel which stood near the current church.

The miracle-working panel of The Madonna del Giglio mentioned above (and recently restored) is in the same chapel, and has been attributed to either the Master of Marradi or, more lately, Raffaellino del Garbo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Marco
Piazza San Marco


this church now has its own page
 

San Niccolò del Ceppo
via Pandolfini 5


History
An oratory belonging to the Compagnia di San Niccolò
which was established in the 14th Century, this church was built for them in 1561.

Interior
The Crucifixion of 1610 by Francis Curradi over the high altar replaced a Crucifixion with Saints Nicholas of Bari and Francis from around 1430 by Fra Angelico, which is now in the Museo di San Marco. In 1734 the ceiling was painted with stories of St. Nicholas by Giovanni Domenico Ferretti and Pietro Anderlini. Paintings
by Giovanni Antonio Sogliani depicting the Visitation and St. Nicholas with Two Members of the Confraternity of 1521 were used as standards by the company carried at the head of  processions.

Restoration work began in 2009 and continues, or at least the sign is still up (May 2013).

 

Bibliography
Ludovica Sebregondi
La Compagnia e l'Oratorio di San Niccolò
del Ceppo
Editore Salimbeni, 1985

 


 

San Pierino
Via Gino Capponi 4


History
The oratory passed to the confraternity of San Pietro Maggiore, founded in 500, in the 16th Century. In 1783 it became a parish church,
taking the name of the demolished church San Pier Maggiore
, but was deconsecrated in the next century. It is now home to the Dante Alighieri Society, which promotes Italian culture and runs language courses.

Above the front door, which is the entrance to the cloister, is a glazed terracotta lunette of The Annunciation between two hooded brothers by Santi Buglioni

Inside are a series of rooms and a cloister, decorated between 1585 and 1590 by Bernardino Poccetti, Giovanni Balducci, Bernardino Monaldi, Andrea Boscoli , Bartholomew Traballesi and Giovan Battista Naldini. The subjects include Martyrdoms of the Apostles (in the cloister), The Passion of Christ and The Life of the Virgin.

Recent renovation has benefited the previously crumbling façade and brightened up its terracotta decoration.



















 

San Procolo
Via de' Giraldi


History
Probably built before 1000, the church here was given to Benedictine monks from the Badia by the bishop of Florence in 1064, being originally dedicated to the saints Proculus (of Pozzuoli, a bishop of Verona in the 4th Century) and Nicomedes.  Rebuilt in Romanesque style in the 16th Century, when the orientation was reversed, this being the church with the altar at the west end we see today. The building was then renovated from 1739 to 1743, when it was acquired by the Confraternity of  Sant'Antonio Abate dei Macellai, one of the four brotherhoods known as buche, which were known for flogging, strict discipline, and night-time prayer meetings. The other three such brotherhoods were at the churches of  San Jacopo sopr'Arno, San Girolamo and San Paolo.

The church was suppressed by the Grand Duke Leopold I and deconsecrated in 1778, with its art mostly moved to the Badia. In 1786 it was sold to Cardinal Gregorio Salviati. From 1934 the church was used by Giorgio La Pira, a local politician who later served two terms as mayor,  to celebrate masses for the poor - the  Messa dei Poveri - at which food and money were given to the homeless and the sick (see photo below). These masses much later moved to the Badia  and the church fell into disuse. The church was heavily damaged during the 1966 flood and closed and then a portion of the roof fell in in June 2005, with accusations flying that the Salviati family had been refused permission to carry out restoration work which might have prevented the collapse. The roof was later rebuilt. In recent years there have been unsuccessful attempts to purchase the church by a nearby hotel and by the nearby Bargello Museum to use as exhibition space.

Interior
San Procolo Healing a Boy by 18th Century painter Gaetano Piattoli is said to be still over the main altar. Most of the other, more major, works of art previously in the church have long since been removed. 14th Century ceiling frescoes covered over in the 18th Century works are said to have been discovered when some of the roof collapsed in 2005.

Lost art
Three panels from a dismembered altarpiece by Pacino di Bonaguida, Saint Nicholas, Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Proculus, now in the Galleria dell'Accademia, may once have been located here.

Ambrogio Lorenzetti's Madonna and Child with Saints Nicholas and Proculus, a triptych painted in 1322 for this church. The central panel was presented as a gift to the Uffizi in 1959 by Bernard Berenson. The wings of the altarpiece had been there since the previous century. Also Four Stories from the Life of Saint Nicholas of 1332, also by Ambrogio, which have been in the Uffizi since 1919.

A sweet Lorenzo Monaco Annunciation with Saints Catherine, Anthony Abbot, Proculus, and Francis, (see right) is now in the Accademia. It ended up there via the Badia and has recently been restored. The Saint Proculus depicted is the 4th Century knight saint of that name, not the 6th Century bishop. They are both said to be buried in the same tomb, though, in San Procolo in Bologna, and share the same feast day (June 1st). A roundel of The Prophet Isiah, convincingly argued to be from one of the circular voids in the lateral pinnacles, is in the Feigen collection.

Filippino Lippi's Crucifixion with the Virgin Mary and St. Francis, seen as a return to a more Trecento style and reflecting the influence of Savonarola, was painted for the Valori chapel here. It was destroyed in 1945 in the fire at the Flakturm Friedrichshain in Berlin (see photo right). Two more panels which made up the triptych with The Crucifixion, dismembered in the 18th Century -  Mary Magdalen and St John the Baptist set in niches - are now at the Galleria dell'Accademia. This altarpiece was painted for the funerary chapel of Francesco Valori, one of Savonarola's most important a politically influential supporters, who had been beheaded by an angry mob near San Procolo in April 1498.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

San Remigio
via Vinegia


History
There was an ospedale for French pilgrims travelling to Rome, dedicated to Saint Remigius, bishop of Reims, here as early as the 9th Century. The original church was here by 1040, with the existing church dating from rebuilding in 1350, following the flood of 1333. This work was probably financed by Piero del Bene Pepi, who is buried inside inside, as well as by members of the Alberti, Bagnesi and Alighieri families, all of whom have their coats-of-arms on the pillars and walls inside. In the 14th and 15th Centuries tombs were built and chapels patronised by these local families, and the walls and vaults were frescoed. Superior works of art were commissioned too, most of which are now lost or have been moved (see below). In 1568 the friars from the priory of San Pier Scherragio, suppressed and engulfed by the building of the Uffizi galleries, moved here, and more work was instituted by the new prior Francesco Falconcini. In the 17th Century the side altars were done over to give the interior unity, and in 1818 the high altar was renovated by Leopoldo Pasqui. Renovations following the flood of 1966 have attempted to return the church to a semblance of its original 14th Century appearance.

Interior
A big bare buff-coloured gothic box, consisting of a nave and two aisles, divided by rows of chunky octagonal pillars. No side chapels but likeably full of bits of fresco. Stripey arches with painted medallions between the ribs of the ceiling.

Art highlights
In the chapel to the right of the apse, an early Madonna and Child (see right) panel looking very Byzantine. It has been attributed to Duccio, Cimabue and Gaddo Gaddi (father of Taddeo) in it's time, but now is given to the Master of San Remegio.

Lost art
An impressive and expressive Pietà (actually a Lamentation?) by Giottino, Giotto's nephew (see below), painted between 1360 and 1365 for this church, has been at the Uffizi since 1851. Saint Remigius is the figure on the left with his hand resting on the head of the donor nun. The two donor figures (Saint Benedict rest his hand on the head of the other) are smaller in scale and wear contemporary dress.

An Annunciation by Mariotto di Nardo is in the Accademia.

The church in literature
This is the local and family church of the characters in Appetite by Philip Kazan. Burials, weddings and a grave-robbing central to the plot all happen here, and the characters live their lives in the surrounding Black Lion district.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San (Michele a San) Salvi
via di San Salvi


History
Built in the 11th century by the Vallombrosan Order as part of an abbey complex. Partly destroyed during the 1529 Siege of Florence, and reconstructed as it was, except for the portico, built in a 16th century style. A single aisle, Latin-cross design with a rectangular apse. The church is said to contain the early 15th Century frescos from a tabernacle once sited at the other end of the via San Salvi, said to be by Lorenzo di Bicci, or his son Bicci, or both.

The refectory
The attached convent's refectory (see right) contains a fine and famous fresco of The Last Supper by Andrea del Sarto (see below right), painted for the Vallombrosans between 1525 and 1527, along with other works by him. The relative severity of the Last Supper image is said to be a reflection of the order's austerity. Judas is unusually not separated from the rest of the apostles by being placed on our side of the table or given clothing of a colour that stands out. It was said that Andrea painted himself as Judas after having betrayed and murdered his friend Domenico Veneziano. The story of the murder comes from Vasari, but as it has been proven that Domenico lived for four years after the death of Andrea both stories fall to pieces.

Another story goes that the same defenders who were destroying everything that could be used by the besiegers in the 1529 Siege mentioned above, and who had partially destroyed the church, knocked down a wall to get into the convent but when faced with Andrea's Last Supper were so lost in admiration that they could not destroy it and, in fact, rebuilt the wall that they had already knocked down, the better to secure the painting.

Apart from the refectory (cenacolo) there's a long corridor and two other rooms full of altarpieces and fresco panels from other, usually demolished, churches, either by Andrea del Sarto or his contemporaries. There is some genuinely worth-seeing stuff here, often by artists you've scarcely heard of, and all hung so the you can get up close and appreciate. And then there's the Last Supper itself, which is one of the best and said to have been Andrea's last major work. The faces, hands and feet are all equally, and extremely, expressive, the colours vivid and the paint looking fresh and
unworn. I got given a leaflet about the cenacolo but there are sadly no cards or books on sale dealing with the other works.

Lost art
Verrocchio's Baptism of Christ, in the Uffizi since 1914, was probably from this church (Verrocchio's brother was abbot here sporadically between 1468 and 1478). It was painted with the assistance of Leonardo, who seems to have been responsible for the left-hand angel, the landscape and probably part of the figure of Jesus.

A Coronation of the Virgin, a late (1511) work by Rafaellino del Garbo, was in the Louvre, now in the Petit Palais Museum in Avignon.

Andrea Sacchi's The Three Magdalenes (c.1632/3) was here before going to the Uffizi. It was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII Barberini for a different church, probably. Also unclear is who the third Magdalene is, The second is Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, after whom the church of  Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi is named (and at which the aforementioned pope had two sisters cloistered as nuns). The third is a mysterious figure called St Mary Magdalene of Japan, India or China. Sutherland Harris in her definitive monogram on the artist observes that ‘she holds glowing coals, and was presumably roasted to death, but all the seven Mary Magdalenes martyred in Japan before 1633 were crucified or beheaded.’ There's is an oil sketch in the Palazzo Barberini in Rome and a chalk and wash drawing in the Royal Collection.

Opening times

The Cenacolo Museum
 Tuesday to Sunday 8.15 – 13.50
Closed Mondays, New Year’s Day, May 1st, and Christmas Day


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

San Tommaso d'Aquino
via della Pergola





History

In the via della Pergola, near an Arte della Lana house and by the grape pergola that gave the road its name, the Congregazione dei Contemplanti was founded by a Dominican friar from San Marco. In 1568 the Mannerist painter Santi di Tito became a member and designed a chapel for the Confraternity which was dedicated to St. Thomas Aquinas. He also created the altarpiece of The Crucifixion and St. Thomas Aquinas (see right), now in San Marco. The vestibule has ceiling paintings from 1782 by Grix and Stagi.  The oratory's ceiling was decorated in 1710 by Rinaldo Botti, with the Glory of St Thomas painted by Camillo Sagrestani and Ranieri del Pace. In the 17th Century the oratory became a hospice for pilgrims but was suppressed in 1775.  It was recently reconsecrated and services are now held here again.

 






 

Sant'Ambrogio
Piazza Sant'Ambrogio


History
Supposedly built on the site where Saint Ambrose himself stayed in 393, the church here was first documented in 988, but was probably older, the 5th Century has been suggested. It has been much rebuilt, notably in the late 15th Century. The apse end, with its triumphal arch, as well as the baroque altar, was designed in 1716 by Giovanni Battista Foggini, with the gothic façade added in the 19th Century, replacing the less-ornate gothic original.

Interior
Very much a used church, due to its proximity to the market and busy shopping streets, but also a church proud of its frescoes. It's wide and aisleless with an open timber roof. Four lovely chunky dark grey Renaissance altars down each side. On the right as you enter a detached fresco of the Deposition by Niccolò di Pietro Gerini, large and in good condition, along with its sinopia (background drawing), it was found behind the third altar.

The first chapel on the right, just after Cronaca's tomb slab in the floor, has a very faded fresco, the second has the lovely Madonna del Latte by an unknown master of the 1360s, described as School of Orcagna, it was once thought to be by Agnolo Gaddi. She is flanked by Saints John the Baptist and Bartholomew. The third chapel has a dark an anonymous altarpiece, the fourth a bright Madonna and Child Enthroned.

By the steps is another, smaller Madonna and Child attributed to Giovanni di Bartolomeo Cristiani, and facing you, in the right-hand side chapel behind the organ, is a lovely recently-restored triptych of the Madonna and Child with Saints Cosmas and Damian attributed to Lorenzo di Bicci, with four more saints in the flanking panels (see right).

A pair of crowded works of 1832/3 by Luigi Ademollo flank the high altar where altarpieces by Filippo Lippi and Masaccio and Masolino once stood.

Coming back up
the left hand side we begin with the highlight Cappela del Miracolo, to the left of the apse (see below right) with its fresco of The Legend of the Miraculous Chalice by Cosimo Rosselli. It contains portraits of Rosselli's Florentine contemporaries, including a self-portrait in a black beret to the extreme left. The ceiling is also frescoed by Rosselli with the Four Doctors of the Church. Also in this chapel is a marble tabernacle by Mino da Fiesole made to house the miraculous and venerated phial of blood. The legend says that on 30th December 1230 a chalice which had not been cleaned was the next day found to contain blood rather than wine by Uguccione, the parish priest. (The abbess at the time was sister Tada - hence the conjuror's expression when a trick succeeds - 'ta-da!' ) This Eucharistic miracle made the church a place of pilgrimage. The supposed miracles include plague prevention in 1340.

Mino's tomb slab is in the chapel too. Next is the sinopia (see detail right).

The fourth chapel on the left has a dingy Saint Anthony Abbot with Tobias and the Angel by Raffaellino del Garbo, with an Annunciation above, the third has a Madonna and Child with Saints by Rosselli. Next is a wooden sculpture of Saint Sebastian by Leonardo del Tasso, with a roundel of The Annunciation attributed to the workshop of Filippino Lippi above and the sculptor's tombstone in the floor in front. The second altar has a Visitation by Andrea Boscoli and the first a damaged fresco of The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian by Agnolo Gaddi. Lastly on this side, as you return to the entrance, on the wall is a Madonna and Child with Angels and Saints by Alesso Baldovinetti.

Another of the tombs of 15th and 16th Century artist here is that of Andrea del Verrocchio who died in Venice in 1486 and was returned here.  The paintings and fresco fragments are mostly well labelled, even if these are all a bit eccentrically translated.

Lost art

Filippo Lippi Coronation of the Virgin (see below right) was commissioned for Sant'Ambrogio in 1441 by Francesco Marenghi, who is painted praying on the right under St John the B's right hand, and paid for in 1447. It remained here until 1810, when it was stolen. It was later sold to the Accademia, from which it was transferred to the Uffizi in 1919. The frame is lost but a predella panel showing the Miraculous Infancy of Saint Ambrose (involving bees supping honey from his lips) is in Berlin (but not to be found in the Gemäldegalerie when I was there). On the left is supposed to be a self-portrait of Filippo Lippi in the garments of a Carmelite monk (looking out at us under the lily pot on the left). This painting is described at length in lines 344-389 of Robert Browning's poem Fra Lippo Lippi, published in 1855 in his collection Men and Women.

Masolino and Masaccio Madonna and Child with Saint Anne. Painted probably around 1424 for the high altar here. Masolino painted Saint Anne and all the angels except for the top right hand one, painted by Masaccio who is also responsible for the Madonna and Child. At the Uffizi since 1919.

Botticelli's dark Madonna and Child with Six Saints was transferred (and was then thought to be the work of Ghirlandaio) to the Accademia in 1808, and then to the Uffizi in 1946.

The Madonna of Sant'Ambrogio by Andrea del Sarto, mentioned by Vasari, is long lost.

Opening times
Daily 8.00-12.00, 4.00-7.00

Città Rossa
On January 9th 1600 Donato Pennechini was crowned king of the Red City (Città Rossa) at a festive mass in this church and anointed with holy water by the prior. The Red City was one of a network of groups called potenze, organisations of artisans and labourers, mostly from the textile trade, set up to organise festivities and defend the honour of their neighbourhood, which would be a somewhat amorphous patch of the city, usually centred on an inn. Stone markers with the emblem of the Red City potenze are visible on the outside corner of the church. But on this occasion the church and state authorities took against what they saw as an outrageous 'mixing of the Sacraments with festivals and jests'. The prior of the church, Piero Manucci, who had taken part in the ceremony was sacked and exiled for a year, Costanza Giuntini, the abbess of the Benedictine convent which ran the church was deposed, and the Red Monarch himself was jailed and then exiled from the parish of Sant'Ambrogio. But the grand duke relented three months later to allow Pennechini, the 'old and poor wool beater', back into his parish. By the mid-1600s these traditional potenze had disappeared.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






 

Sant'Egidio
via Bufalini


History
The origins of the church and convent of Sant'Egidio (St Giles) are unknown, but are thought to have been Romanesque. The original complex, centred on the church of Sant'Egidio, had been run by the Frati Saccati, (Friars of the Sack) a mendicant order, suppressed by the Council of Lyons in 1274, whose Prevençal saint the church was named for. Papal suppression didn't prevent the remaining friars living out their lives in the order, which remained here until at least 1286. The land and buildings thereby became available and were acquired to become the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova, which was founded in 1288 by Folco Portinari, the father of Dante's Beatrice.

The hospital expanded during the 14th Century, but the first rebuilding of the church came  following the old church's destruction in 1418, when it was enlarged, to designs by Bicci di Lorenzo, and new painted decoration added. This work was implemented by the then spedalingo (hospital prefect) Michele di Fruosino da Panzano, who also commissioned the fresco (see far below left) of Pope Martin reconsecrating the church in 1420.  The present appearance of the church is the result of a 16th century restructuring, attributed to a plan by Bernardo Buontalenti (1528-1608) and carried out by Giulio Parigi in 1611. The 15th century frescos that decorated the walls were covered by four classical altars in pietra serena (two on either side). The steps in front of the high altar, partly due to Buontalenti are of the same period. The baroque balustrade, which blends stylistically with the altar in patterns of semi-precious stones is  later period. Facing the steps are the tomb-stones of the Portinari family. The ceiling decoration is the result of the collaboration between Giuseppe Tonelli who took care of the painted architecture and Matteo Bonechi who added the figures. (First half of the 18th Century).

Interior
Aisleless and boxy with a pair of tall pietra serena altars either side, the second on the left featuring a Deposition by Allori  most dark and dingy and in need of cleaning.  Has a double-tier nun's gallery at the back, which I'd not seen before, with some heavy-duty grill work,  and more grills on the left-hand side. Much middling 17th Century art.

Lost art
An almost square Annunciation panel by the Master of the Straus Madonna (c.1395-1405) from the hospital is in the Accademia.

Fra Angelico's Coronation of the Virgin, painted around 1435, and mentioned by Vasari in his description of Sant'Egidio, has been in the Uffizi since 1948. Two predella panels are in San Marco.

A great six-panel cycle of frescoes (1439-1470) of The Life of the Virgin, commissioned by the Portinari family and highly praised by Vasari, which decorated the choir of the church was begun between 1439 and 1445 by Domenico Veneziano, with Piero della Francesca and Bicci di Lorenzo as his assistants. They painted three scenes, with Andrea de Castagno adding three more opposite between 1451 and 1453. The final unfinished panel was completed, around 1461, by Alessio Baldovinetti. All of it is now lost, with only some unrevealing decorative panels remaining, as well as a sinopia (underdrawing) by Domenico Veneziano of a nude woman with perspective lines, these fragments being now installed in the refectory of Sant'Appollonia. It is said that the cycle's depiction of hospital patrons was also a celebration of Cosimo de'Medici's flight from Florence in 1433, as many of the Medici partisans who engineered his escape from prison were depicted.

It is during their painting these frescoes that Andrea de Castagno (according to Vasari) murdered Domenico Veneziano. He writes that Blinded with envy of the praises he had heard of Domenico’s talent, Andrea determined to be rid of him. He considered various ways of killing him, and one of them he put into action as follows. One summer evening, as was his custom, Maestro Domenico took his lute and made his way out of Santa Maria Nuova, leaving Andrea there drawing in his room. Andrea had declined his invitation to join him on a walk, saying he had some urgent drawing work to do. So Domenico went off and pursued his usual rounds of pleasure in the city. But on his way back, unknown to him, Andrea was waiting round a street corner, and with some lead weights he smashed both Domenico’s lute and his stomach with one blow, and also struck him violently on the head with them. Then he ran off, leaving Domenico half dead on the ground, and returned to his room in Santa Maria Nuova, and leaving the door ajar he sat back down at the drawing he had left. Stirring stuff, but unfortunately it has been proven that Veneziano lived for four years after the death of Andrea.

The Adoration of the Magi, a hugely influential altarpiece by Hugo van der Goes (see photo right) has been in the Uffizi Gallery since 1900. (Along with some other pictures it had for a while been in the house in via Bufalini where Ghiberti had his workshop.) It was commissioned by Tomasso Portinari, a Medici agent working in Bruges whose family had long been major patrons of this church and hospital, and was painted around 1475. It was commissioned to go over the high altar, the choir having been decorated with scenes from the life of Mary (see paragraph above) but without one depicting the nativity. Portinari and his wife and children are depicted on the wings of the altarpiece. It is the largest Flemish altarpiece ever painted - wider even than the Ghent Altarpiece. It came by sea from Bruges to Pisa and then up the Arno to Florence, where 16 men were employed to carry it from the harbour, through Porta San Frediano, to Sant'Egidio. It arrived in Florence on 28th May 1483 and replaced an older work by Lorenzo Monaco, painted around 1420/22 and now lost, but possibly depicting the same subject.

Also lost is an altarpiece painted between 1434 and 1439 by Zanobi Strozzi for the Chapel of St Agnes here. Botticelli's Madonna and Child with St John and Two Angels painted for the hospital, having been previously ascribed to Filippo Lippi.

Bibliography
John Henderson - The Renaissance Hospital
Contains much about the hospital of
Santa Maria Nuova and hence Sant'Egidio, especially in Chapter 4, the chapter dealing with hospital churches.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

Martin V consecrates Sant'Egidio in 1420,
from a missal by Gherardo di Giovanni.

 

 

 

 


 

Celebrations following the Reconsecration of Sant'Egidio in 1420 by Bicci di Lorenzo, a fresco which
was originally placed on the façade of the church. The terracotta lunette of the Coronation of the Virgin
by Dello Delli over the door to the church is preserved in the hospital. The terracotta Christ to the
left is 'almost certainly' the one, also by Dello Delli, now in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

 

Santa Croce
Piazza di Santa Croce

this church now has its own page

Santa Maria degli Angeli
via degli Alfani


this church now has its own page

Santa Maria degli Angiolini
via della Colonna



 

 
History

The church of a convent established in 1507, when a group of pious Florentine women bought a house in Via Laura, near Borgo Pinti, to devote themselves to the religious life and do good works. As their numbers grew the building was enlarged and transformed into a real convent. The name was possibly chosen to echo that of Santa Maria degli Angeli .

Well-preserved and large altarpieces supposedly survive within, by Curradi Francesco, Matteo Rosselli and Domenico Puligo. The church organ was built in 1793 by Louis and Benedict Tronci.

Suppressed in 1784  by Grand Duke Peter Leopold and converted into a conservatory. The church was damaged severely by the flood of 1966 and was closed for forty years only reopening in November 2006, restoration work having began in 1996.

Miraculous images
During an expansion of the convent in 1530 workmen were demolishing a nearby house when a terracotta image of the Virgin and Child was found in a recess in a wall. It was ceremoniously installed in the nun's choir, but every morning afterwards was found by the nuns to have turned its back on them. This was interpreted as communicating the Madonna's wish to be placed in the public church, where it was then placed.

Santa Maria dei Candeli
Via dei Pilastri



History
Dating back at least to the 14th century, the church and its attached monastery belonged to the Augustinian nuns of Candeli. The church was completely rebuilt in 1704 by Giovanni Battista Foggini in an elegant late-baroque style. with a ceiling fresco by Niccolò Lapi. The monastery was suppressed in 1808 and rebuilt by Giuseppe del Rosso as the Royal Lyceum. Later used as a home for poor boys and as a Carabinieri barracks. The church is deconsecrated.

 

Santa Maria della Croce al Tempio
via di San Giuseppe



 
 



History

The Brotherhood from which the church takes its name was founded in 1343 was initially based by the old Prato Gate where there was a gallows. There was also a hospital of the Knights Templar, from which the order derived its name. This first church was built in 1361 but was destroyed to clear the ground outside the walls during the Siege of Florence. The Brotherhood moved inside the walls and in 1424 established a group called The Blacks who accompanied prisoners from the Bargello or Stinche prisons to the gallows outside the gates. They were dressed in black and hooded, and flagellated themselves (and were hence dubbed Battuti). At their head they carried a crucifix now kept in the nearby church of San Giuseppe.

The Brotherhood was suppressed in 1785 by the Grand Duke Peter Leopold of Tuscany at the same time as he abolished the death penalty. The church was deconsecrated. It reportedly contains paintings from the 16th to the 19th Centuries, including frescos attributed to Bicci di Lorenzo.

 

Santa Maria in Campo
via del Proconsolo


 
UNFINISHED

Founded before 1137 and modernised in 1586.


Lost art
The National Gallery in London has The Beheading of Saint Margaret(?), one panel from the predella of an altarpiece by Starnina which may have come from this church and may have been commissioned by Filippo di Piero di Ranieri.

Opening times

A sign on the door says that mass is celebrated here Saturdays at 5.30 pm.

















 

Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi
(...de’Pazzi or ...di Cestello)
Borgo Pinti


History
Founded 1257 as a convent for for penitent women called Santa Maria Maddalena delle Convertite, the patron saint of once-fallen, now "converted" women. The complex was taken over to Cistercians from Badia a Settimo in 1332, when the nuns moved to San San Donato in Polveroso.  The monks of Settimo, who moved in in 1442, found the complex in a poor state, and instituted radical rebuilding, but this didn't start until 1480, to initial designs by Giuliano da Sangallo. In 1481 the roof was repaired and a new Cappella Maggiore was built, for which Ghirlandaio painted frescos which were destroyed in 1685 when the choir was rebuilt. In 1514 the Cistercians from San Frediano in Cestello were moved here. They later (1628) returned there when Cardinal Francesco Barberini moved the Carmelite nuns who had been in residence there to this church. He did this because two of his nieces, Innocenza and Grazia, were nuns there and it wasn't the nicest of areas.

During work in the 17th and early 18th centuries, altarpieces by the likes of Botticelli, Perugino, Lorenzo di Credi, and Domenico Ghirlandaio were removed and replaced by works by Carlo Portelli, Alfonso Boschi, Domenico Puligo, Santi di Tito and Francesco Curradi.

The Pazzi name was added after a Carmelite nun from the Pazzi family, who had lived with the nuns when they were resident at what is now San Frediano. When possessed of the holy spirit, she would speak at such a rate as took eight novices to transcribe her utterances. She was also known to pour boiling wax on her arms and lie naked in thorns. She was canonized in 1669 and is buried here.

Interior
A big aisleless box and too dark to make out much painting-wise. Five deep chapels each side, variously furnished with paintings or stained glass. I liked a Coronation of the Virgin by Rosselli, but that was probably because what little light there was was shining on it. Painted ceiling and clerestory level. The fresco-covered left-hand transept chapel looked good too, what I could see. (Should I have brought a torch?) The chapel opposite was frescoed nicely too, in a mannerist/post-Michelangelo style. The apse is a bit of an art and coloured-marble riot after the plainness of the body of the church. Similarly the second chapel on the right looks surprisingly like an over-gilt neo-classical bedroom, with confessionals.

In the chapter house, reached through a tunnel at the end of the right aisle, is a fine landscape-dominated three-panel fresco of The Crucifixion and Saints (1493-96) by Pietro Perugino, which was commissioned by Dionigi and Giovanna Pucci.

Lost art
A Botticelli Annunciation commissioned in 1489 by Benedetto di Ser Giovanni Guardi for this church, in the Uffizi since 1872.

The Crucifixion, an altarpiece by Jacopo di Cione, is now in the National Gallery in London

Pietro Perugino's rather lovely Apparition of the Virgin to Saint Bernard,(1490/94) (see right) now in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, was painted for the Nasi family chapel (to the right of the high altar) here. It was moved in 1628 when the Carmelites took over here.

Francesco Botticini's vivid Virgin and Child in Glory, with Saint Mary Magdalene, Saint Bernard, Angels, Cherubim, and Seraphim of c.1485 from the Cavalcanti Chapel here, is now in the Louvre. As is Lorenzo di Credi's Leonardoish Virgin and Child with Saints Julian and Nicholas of Myra.

Ghirlandaio's Visitation with Saints Mary Jacobi and Mary Salome of 1491, now in the Louvre, was painted for the Tornobuoni Chapel here. It looks more than a bit like a Botticelli, but is lovely nonetheless, and the women look solid. He also
painted frescos for a new Cappella Maggiore built in 1481 which are now lost, destroyed in 1685 when the choir was rebuilt. Also by him is an altarpiece depicting Saints Stephen, James and Peter painted for the the chapel of Stefano di Jacopo Boni here, now in the Accademia Gallery in Florence.

A pulpit carved for this church by Giovanni della Bella may be the one now in the Museo Bardini.

board!

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






























 

Santa Teresa
Borgo la Croce


History

A monastery that was founded in 1628 by the Discalced (barefoot) Carmelites, dedicated to the Saint Teresa of Avila, one of the founders of the order. It was built to a design by John Coccapani, who also designed the baroque church. Suppressed in 1808 and 1865. Initially used to house the homeless, with the nuns still in charge, it became a prison in 1866. Enlarged in 1875, the complex was damaged by the flood of 1966. With the creation of the Sollicciano prison a competition was announced in the early 1980s for projects that would result in community use of the buildings. Nothing came of this, and the building still houses low-security prisoners, with a small part also currently being used by the University of Florence's Faculty of Architecture.

The baroque church has a central plan with a dome topped by a hexagonal lantern.

Anna Maria Redi (Saint Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart) lived here from 1764 to 1770. She was from the family of Francesco Redi, the famous physician of Arezzo, and entered the monastery young, soon after finishing her education at Sant'Appolonia.
She died, and was buried, here at the age of 23. Her body had become swollen and disfigured by the disease that killed her but days later she had appeared to be miraculously incorrupt and as if she was merely sleeping.
 



 

Santa Verdiana
via dell'Agnolo


History
A convent founded in 1395 by notary Niccolò Manetto for Vallombrosan nuns from his birthplace. Restoration of the existing buildings and the building of a church took five years. It was originally named for both San Giovanni Gualberto and Santa Verdiana, the latter a nun from Castelfiorentino who lived for 34 years, in the early 13th Century, walled up in a cell there together with the two snakes which got into her cell towards the end, but whose presence she never revealed. For Giovanni Gualberto's story see my entry for the church of Santa Trìnita.

More building work in 1425, thanks to the nuns' dowries and income from land left by Manetto. The convent was further enlarged in 1462, with a cloister built, with Medici money, some say Cosimo the Elder but it's more likely to have been his son Giovanni. Further work was carried out during the 16th and 17th Centuries, including the acquisition of works by Pier Dandini, Pietro Sorri, Fernando Melani and Vincenzo Meucci .

In 1589 a cult developed here around a miracle-working terracotta sculpture of the Madonna and Child.

Following the suppression in 1808 their were plans to turn the complex into an abattoir and then a women's prison, which it became and during WWII was used by the fascists to imprison female partisans. In 1983 the prison at Sollicciano was finished and the inmates then here were moved there. It was then sold to the university and is now used by the Faculty of Architecture.

Lost art

The Baptism of Christ by Andrea del Verrocchio and Leonardo da Vinci originally in the church of San Salvi, was transferred to the church here. In 1810 it was moved to the Accademia and then into the Uffizi in 1959.

 

Santi Jacopo e Lorenzo
via Ghibellina


History
The church was attached to the Franciscan convent of Santa Chiara, founded in 1363, which occupied the whole block to the via dei Conciatori. Consecrated in 1448, later damaged repeatedly by floods, it was rebuilt in 1542 by architect Antonio Lupicini and contained 'great works of art', we are told.

The interior has a nun's gallery. After the Napoleonic suppression in 1808 the church and convent was assigned to the company of Librai e Stampatori (booksellers and printers), so becoming known as the Chiesa dei Librai. The convent was used as a laboratory and later the church was deconsecrated and used for storage, falling into a deplorable state, it was reported. It is said that it currently still houses a printing press.

Lost art
Michele Ghirlandaio's Madonna in Glory with Saints is now in the Andrea del Sarto Cenacolo Museum at San Salvi.


 




 

Santi Simone e Guida
Piazza San Simone


History
There was a small oratory here by around 1191, built in vineyards owned by the monks of the Badia Fiorentina. A church replaced the oratory in 1209 and was enlarged in 1243. Consecration followed in 1247 when the building was designated a parish church. It was badly damaged when the Arno flooded in 1557. The archbishop of Florence, Alessandro Marzi Medici, elevated its status to that of a priory and named Giovanni Niccolai as its first prior in 1608, a post he held until his death in 1642. Niccolai fortunately came from a wealthy family and so initiated renovation work on the church. By 1619 a new high altar of Carrara marble was added and the choir stalls and presbytery were completely renovated under the patronage of Niccolai and Bartolomeo Galilei, a relative of Galileo, a Knight of Malta, and steward to Leopoldo de' Medici. This work, by the architect Gherardo Silvani, did not include the facade but did rsult in the destruction of tombs, chapels and 14th Century frescoes. The final stage of Silvani's renovation (the gilt green ceiling) was completed in 1665. The floor of terracotta tiles and pietra serena is patterned to reflect the design of the ceiling and was restored after the 1966 flood. The church is currently used by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

Interior
Aisleless and detailed with pietra serena with a green and gilt carved ceiling dated 1670 and bearing the Maltese Cross and the Galilei arms. Five shallow altars down each side with some ordinary late 16th/early 17th century panels by the likes of Jacopo Vignali, Francesco Curradi, and Nicodemo Ferrucci. But one deep niche in a chapel on the right is oddly frescoed with a landscape and another has a 14th century Saint Peter Enthroned.  A new iconostasis and other free-standing images speak of the church's current use by a
Ukrainian Greek Catholic congregation.

Buried here are the painter Raffaellino del Garbo (c. 1466–1524), said to have been the only talented pupil of Filippino Lippi and the teacher of Andrea del Sarto and Bronzino; and the librettist and poet Andrea Salvadori (1591–1634).

 

Santissima Annunziata
Piazza della S.S. Anunziata


this church now has its own page

 

Spedale degli Innocenti



 
 
UNFINISHED

History
In 1294 the newish  silk merchants' guild, the Arte di Por San Maria, named for the road where most of them had their shops, was given responsibility for the care and education of Florence's orphans and foundlings. The two existing homes were found inadequate by 1419 and in that year a bequest by Francesco Datini enabled the guild to acquire land in near the church of Santissima Annunziata and they set about demolishing the ramshackle buildings on the site. The commission to design the spedale, named for the Innocents massacred by Herod, went to
Brunelleschi, a goldsmith who'd only the sacristy in San Lorenzo to his name thus far. He began with the loggia, which was to prove influentially and is still impressive. His Chiostro degli Uomini (men's cloister) and the long Chiostro delle Donne (women's cloister) are also highlights. In 1427, following the completion of the loggia, Brunelleschi left, and the work continued under Francesco della Luna. The spedale opened in January 1445 and ten days later the first foundling - called Agata Smeralda - arrived. There were 90 children by the end of the first year and 600 by the 1460s. Many were the children of female slaves - most prosperous families had at least one such domestic slave, the labour shortages following the plague of 1348 only making the situation worse. Children were mostly left at night, initially in a basin beneath a window to the right of the entrance, where a woman waited listening at the window above. Around 1660 a wheel (which can still be seen, behind a grill) at the left end of the loggia, was installed, and was used until 1875.

The church was completely refurbished in 18th and 19th Centuries.

Currently undergoing major renovation work to the museum.


Art highlights/Lost art
The Adoration of the Magi by Ghirlandaio (1485-8), painted for the high altar of the church here, is now (along with its predella by Bartolommeo di Giovanni) in the hospital museum. The Annunciation to the Shepherds is to be seen under the right hand arch, there is an appropriate scene of The Massacre of the Innocents on the left and a couple of small children in the foreground.

Also in the museum are a Coronation of the Virgin by Neri di Bicci and a Virgin and Child with Saints Peter, Elizabeth of Hungary, Catherine of Alexandria and John the Evangelist (1493) by Piero di Cosimo.

Pontormo's Ten Thousand Martyrs was painted for the Spedale, but was in the Uffizi's Tribune by 1638. It's now in the Pitti.

Opening times
Weekdays: 8.30 am - 7.00 pm
Holidays: 8.30 am - 2.00 pm
The ticket office closes 30 minutes before the museum closes.
 

Valdese
Holy Trinity
Via Leone X


   

History
The church of the Holy Trinity was the first Anglican church in Florence, built between 1843 and 1846 by the architect Domenico Giraldi. In 1890 the English ex-pat community in Florence decided to rebuild the church, . Between 1892 and 1904 the present church was built in an English Perpendicular style to designs by the Scottish architect George Frederick Bodley, who also designed the choir screen and stalls which were made in 1902 in Florence by the workshop of Mariano Coppedè.


On the grey tower stand white marble statues of St John the Baptist, King David, St Alban, St Augustine, St Stephen (by Cesare Fantacchiotti) St George, St Andrew and St Patrick. The church was acquired by the Waldensians in 1967.


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