Centre :: East :: West :: Oltrarno

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East
La Crocetta
Ges¨ 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 Niccol˛ del Ceppo
San Pier Maggiore
(demolished)
San Pierino
(oratory)
San Procolo
San Remigio
San
(Micheli 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 della Neve
and The Convent of the Murate
Santa Maria in Campo
Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi
(deĺPazzi or Cestello)
Santa Teresa
Santa Verdiana
Santi Jacopo e Lorenzo
Santi Simone e Guida
Santissima Annunziata
Spedale degli Innocenti
Valdese
Holy Trinity

 

 


 

La Crocetta (to add to lists)
via Laura


Founded by Suor Domenica da Paradiso in 1511

The former convent and church are now used by the University of Florence. The Hotel Morandi alla Crocetta incorporates the nun's chapel.

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.
 

 



 

Ges¨ 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 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





From the 16th Century Buonsignori Map.
 
 
History

A Dominican convent built around 1297 for the nuns that had come to Florence from San Jacopo in Ripoli in 1292.
The fašade 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 of Forensic Medicine and a museum 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 hard documentary proof.


 

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 below) 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. 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 PietÓ 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. Ĺthe Popeĺ) was held here, following his death in October 1994.
 

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 fašade 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 Micheangelo, 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 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 and Child mentioned above (and recently restored) is still in the church, and has been attributed to either the Master of Marradi or Raffaellino del Garbo.

 



 

San Marco
Piazza San Marco






 
 
The convent

Originally a house of Silvestrine monks, who moved to San Giorgio dello Spirito Santo to make way for the Dominicans, who took possession here in 1436, after which date they rebuilt the whole complex at the expense of Cosimo de Medici, between 1437 and 1452. Michelozzo, the Medici's favourite architect, designed the church, cloister, library and friars' quarters.  Fra Angelico worked with Michelozzo for eight or nine years, until he was summoned by the Pope to Rome in 1445 to work in the Vatican.

Facade of church built  1777-78 to designs by Gioacchino Pronti.

The church was much altered in 17th Century, but the monastery remained largely untouched.

The Dominicans were expelled in 1866 and the first cloister became a museum.

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and Angelo Poliziano are buried here.

Interior
The church itself is a bit disappointing after the delights of the complex next door - an aisleless box by Michelozzo with a very gilt-scrolly ceiling - but it has some nice bits of uncovered fresco fragments and the chapel of Sant'Antonio at the end on the left has some good mannerist stuff, including an altarpiece of The Descent into Limbo by Allori.

Ghirlandaio's Last Supper is in the refectory of the foresteria (guest quarters)

Lost art
Botticelli Coronation of the Virgin, an altarpiece originally in the chapel of Sant'Al˛ in the church of San Marco. It was commissioned by the Guild of Goldsmiths and was painted between 1488 and 1490. In the Uffizi since 1796.

Many works by Fra Bartolommeo: his Christ in the Temple (1516), now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, had been in the Uffizi but they swapped it with Vienna for DŘrer's Adoration of the Magi in 1793. His dark Madonna and Child with Saints was painted for the Santa Caterina altar here, and is now in the Palatine Gallery in the Palazzo Pitti. It was acquired by Grand Prince Ferdinando, who deprived many Florentine churches of their altarpieces, either by providing cash or replacement copies. Also in the Pitti is a huge Sistine-ceiling--inspired panel of San Marco by Fra Bartolommeo, acquired from San Marco by Napoleon in 1799. It was mounted on canvas and later returned to Florence. A matching Saint Sebastian, sent to the French king in 1529, is now lost.

The Alte Pinakothek in Munich (4 panels), and galleries in Dublin, Florence and Paris, have the predella panels from the Fra Angelico altarpiece (1438-40) the main panel of which remains here.


 


 

San Niccol˛ del Ceppo
via Pandolfini 5


History
An oratory belonging to the Compagnia di San Niccol˛
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 Niccol˛ del Ceppo
Editore Salimbeni, 1985

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

San Pier Maggiore (demolished)
Borgo degli Albizzi








 
 

History

The site of a Benedictine convent, founded in 1067 or 1090. The abbess traditionally welcomed each new bishop of Florence upon his arrival in the city, with a ceremony involving putting a ring on his finger. She was therefore nicknamed 'the wife of the bishop'.

The Gothic church was built in the late 13th or early 14th Century, being completed by 1352. It was a large triple-aisled church with the high altar (upon which would have stood the large altarpiece by Jacopo di Cione mentioned below) in a large raised choir chapel that was rebuilt 1612-15, around which time the altarpiece was removed. After many minor rebuildings it was rebuilt in 1638 by Matthew Nigetti as seen in the etching (below left) and plan (further below left).

Among the artists buried here were Lorenzo di Credi, Luca della Robbia, Piero di Cosimo and Mariotto Albertinelli.

The church was demolished in 1784 having been declared unsafe following a partial collapse during rebuilding work the year before. But only one, non-load bearing, column had collapsed. Supposedly the real reason for the demolition was Grand Duke Peter Leopold's desire to minimize the dominance of religious institutions in Florence which had been behind so many suppressions.

Three arches of the portico (part of the 1638 rebuilding) of the fašade survive (see left), two being occupied by private houses. Art and fittings from the church were transferred to various Florentine institutions, including the Hospital of the Innocents and the church of San Michele Visdomini.

Lost art

The majority of the late 14th Century 12-panel altarpiece, now almost universally attributed to Jacopo di Cione and workshop, commissioned for the church of San Pier Maggiore, probably by the Albizzi family, is now in the National Gallery in London. The frame is lost and the predella panels are dispersed in other collections

The Assumption of the Virgin by Francesco Botticini, which served as the altarpiece in the burial chapel here of Matteo Palmieri, a civil servant, is now in the National Gallery in London. It was previously thought to be by Botticelli, due to Vasari confusing their names.

The Visitation by Maso da San Friano, a Mannerist altarpiece of 1560 painted for the chapel of the de' Pesci in this church, is now in the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge UK.

The church in art
The original church is visible in the background of St Zenobius Raising a Boy from the Dead (see below) by Ridolfo Ghirlandaio. And
A Miracle of St Zenobius by Domenico Veneziano in the Fitzwilliam, Cambridge UK. Also Saint Zenobius Resuscitating a Dead Child by Benozzo Gozzoli in the MET New York. The church in Masaccio and Masolino's Saint Peter Healing with His Shadow fresco in the Brancacci Chapel may also be, somewhat appropriately, San Pier Maggiore.


The original 14th Century church as held by
St Peter in the Jacopo di Cione altarpiece.

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 fašade and brightened up its terracotta decoration.

 





















 

San Procolo
Via de' Giraldi





 
 
History

There was a church here by the 13th century, originally dedicated to the saints Proculus and Ganymede.  Rebuilt in Romanesque style in the sixteenth century, when the east-west orientation was reversed, this being the church 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. From 1934 the church was used by Giorgio La Pira to celebrate a Messa dei Poveri for the homeless poor (see photo below left). It was heavily damaged during the 1966 flood.

San Procolo heals a boy by Gaetano Piattoli is on the main altar. Most of the other (decidedly major) works of art previously in the church were removed.

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 - Madonna and Child with Saints Nicholas and Proculus, a triptych painted in 1332 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 in the Uffizi since the previous century. Also Four Stories from the Life of Saint Nicholas of around 1330, also by Lorenzetti, in the Uffizi since 1919.

A Lorenzo Monaco Annunciation, now at the Galleria dell'Accademia.

Filippino Lippi's Crucifixion with the Virgin Mary and St. Francis, seen as a return to more a more trecento style, reflecting the influence of Savonarola. It was destroyed during WW2 whilst in the Staatliche Museen in Berlin (see photo below). Two more panels which probably made a triptych with The Crucifixion, dismembered in the 18th Century -  Mary Magdalen and St John the Baptist - 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 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 dates to 1040, with the existing church dating from rebuilding in 1350. This work was financed by the Alberti, Pepi, and Bagnesi Alighieri families, whose coats of arms can be found on the pillars and walls inside. In the 17th Century two baroque altars were added, and in 1818 another by Leopoldo Pasqui.

Interior
A big bare buff-coloured gothic box, consisting of a nave and two aisles, divided by rows of octagonal pillars. A bit bare of chapels and altarpieces, but full of bits of fresco and painted decoration (see photo below right) and I liked it, especially as I had it to myself for so long. I will have a look and an investigate of the frescos on a future visit.


Art highlights
In the last chaple on the right, The Virgin with Child Enthroned with Two Saints (see right), a rare surviving painted work by Gaddo Gaddi (father of Taddeo) looking very Byzantine.
 

Lost art
An impressive and expressive PietÓ by Giottino (see below), painted between 1360 and 1365 for the church of San Remigio, 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.
 

   



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

San (Michele a San) Salvi
via di San Salvi


History
Built in the 11th century by the Vallombrosans as part of an abbey complex. Partly destroyed during the 1529 Siege of Florence.  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 refectory
The attached convent's refectory (see below right) contains a fine and famous fresco of The Last Supper by Andrea del Sarto (see below), painted between 1525 and 1527, along with other works by him. The story goes that the same defenders who were destroying everything that could be used by the besiegers, and who had partially destroyed the church, knocked down a wall to get into the 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 where the cenacolo is, 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. The church of San Michele closes, as I found out at 12.15, at 12.00.

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 by Rafaellino del Garbo, now in the Petit Palais Museum in Avignon.


 

 






 

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 below), 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
The church here was first documented in 988, but has been much rebuilt, notably in the late 13th Century, with the fašade added in the 19th Century.

In the pavement can be seen to tomb slabs of sculptor Mino da Fiesole, painter and sculptor Verrocchio, architect Cronaca and painter Francesco Granacci.

Open timber roof. A church still redolent of its regular use by passing shoppers.

Two frescoes by Cosimo Rosselli - an Assumption and,


Interior

A little gem - small and aisleless but with four chunky dark grey Renaissance side altars down each side, most containing earlier fresco fragments. Works by Lorenzo di Bicci, Cosimo Rosselli, Orcagna, Alesso Baldovinetti Filippino Lippi (workshop) and Agnolo Gaddi.

There is also a big sinopia (fresco background drawing) hung near its actual fresco, The legend of the miraculous chalice by Cosimo Rosselli which is in the Cappela del Miracolo, to the left of the apse (see below right).  The fresco contains portraits of Rosselli's Florentine contemporaries, including a self-portrait in a black beret to the extreme left. Also in this chapel is a marble tabernacle by Mino da Fiesole, made to house the aforementioned miraculous and venerated chalice, not cleaned and later found to contain blood rather than wine by Uguccione, the parish priest, in 1230. Mino's tomb slab is in the chapel too. The paintings and fragments are mostly well labelled, even if these are all a bit eccentrically translated.
 

Lost art
Filippo Lippi Coronation of the Virgin (see below) 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 Galleria dell'Accademia, from which it was transferred to the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence in 1919. The frame is lost but a predella panel showing the Miraculous Infancy of St Ambrose (involving bees supping honey from his lips) is in Berlin. 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 this church. 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.

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

8-12.30, 4-7

 







 

Sant'Egidio
via Bufalini








 


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


 

 
History
The origins of the church and convent of Sant'Egidio (St Giles) are unknown, but are thought to be Romanesque. The original complex, centred on the church of Sant'Egidio, had been run by the Frati Saccati, an order suppressed by Pop Gregory X in 1274.  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 around 1420, when it was extended 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 and more grills on the left-hand side. Much middling 17th Century art.

Lost art

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.

The Adoration of the Magi,
an altarpiece by Ugo Van der Goes, (see below) has been in the Uffizi Gallery since 1900. (Along with other pictures it had for a while been in the house in via Bufalini where Ghiberti had his workship.) It was commissioned by Tomasso Portinari, a Medici agent working in Bruges, and was painted in 1475. He and his wife and children are depicted in the wings of the altarpiece. It came by sea in 1483 from Bruges to Pisa and then up the Arno to Florence, where 16 men were employed to carry it from the harbour to Sant'Egidio.

A great six-panel cycle of frescoes (1439-1470) of Scenes of the  Life of the Virgin, highly praised by Vasari, which decorated the interior of the church and which Domenico Veneziano, with Piero della Francesca and Bicci di Lorenzo as his assistants, had begun between 1439 and 1445. They painted three scenes, with Andrea de Castagno adding three more opposite between 1451 and 1353. 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 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.

Also lost is an altarpiece painted between 1434 and 1439 by Zanobi Strozzi for the Chapel of St Agnes here.

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


Celebrations following the Reconsecration of Sant'Egidio in 1420
by Bicci di Lorenzo, a fresco which was originally
 placed on the fašade 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





 

The Bardi and Peruzzi Chapels
Giotto's final works in Florence, completed before his 1328 move to Naples at the behest of King Robert of Anjou. Both of these apsidal chapels had their frescoes later whitewashed over (probably during restoration n 1714) and were uncovered in the 1850s and restored in the 19th Century. This work, by a man called Gaetano Bianchi, involved considerable interventions replacing lost elements. These additions were removed during further restoration work in the late 195os/early 1960s. Both chapels would originally have had iron gates across their entrances and the perspective of the paintings on the side walls usually assumes a viewpoint peering through these grills. It's also noticeable that neither chapel contains scenes stressing the asceticism of the Saints, which is an especially noticeable exclusion in the case of Francis, with his order's famous renunciation of worldly wealth.

The Bardi Chapel
This is now thought to be the first of these two chapels to be completed. The back wall has saints, including Saint Louis who belonged to the Angevin family, Ridolfo deĺ Bardi himself having been the the banker for King Robert of Naples, the saint's younger brother. The walls are decorated with six scenes from the life of Saint Francis, with a seventh, The Stigmatization, on the wall above right of the entrance to the chapel. The Death of Saint Francis is probably the most famous of the scenes. The large box-shaped loss is due to the removal of a later monuments. The non-monk figure this side of the bed is the doubting knight called Jerome who is shown poking his fingers into Francis's side wound. The two figures far left are thought to be members of the Bardi family, due to their more contemporary hats and haircuts.

The Peruzzi Chapel
Mysteriously this chapel was frescoed using the older technique of painting onto dried plaster, known as a secco. This process results in a much more fragile paint surface and so time and, especially, the process of whitewashing and the removal of the whitewash, has been even harsher to this chapel than the Bardi, which was painted using proper buon fresco technique. (Although strangely more detail is visible when ultraviolet light is shone on the fresco surface.) As the original Peruzzi donor was called Giovanni it's no surprise that this chapel's frescoes tell the stories of the lives of the Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist, three scenes on each wall. The left wall is John the B. The beheading panel has lost its figure of the just-decapitated saint far left. This continuous narrative scene was much copied and very influential. The right wall is dedicated to John the E, the only evangelist who wasn't martyred.

Giotto is also said, by Vasari, to have frescoed the Life of the Virgin in the Tosinghi-Spinelli Chapel (1st chapel in the left transept) and  the Martyrdoms of the Apostles in the Giugni Chapel (3rd chapel in the right transept) but these works are lost.

plus...
The Baroncelli Chapel
Frescoed from 1328 by Taddeo Gaddi, a follower of Giotto, one of the so-called Giotteschi, Vasari said he was considered Giotto's most talented pupil. (His father was Gaddo and Agnolo was his son.) He continued the work at Santa Croce following Giotto's death and the work he did here (including the refectory) is commonly considered to be his best, and was very influential on contemporaries. This chapel, with its scenes from the life of the Virgin, is probably the most complete and undamaged cycle of pre-1350 frescoes. To the left of the window is a sequence of scenes depicting annunciations. On the right are meetings and greetings. The altarpiece is also by Gaddi, but has a problematical Giotto signature. The panel devoted to The Marriage of the Virgin has a very rare quirky humour. Taddeo's later work in the refectory

 

 
History
On the site where three previous churches had stood work begun on a church for the Franciscans in 1294, to designs by Arnolfo di Cambio in imitation of the old Saint Peter's in Rome.

Arnolfo's interior spoilt, like the same architect's Palazzo Vecchio, by Vasari. It is said that Arnolfo, like his contemporaries, would've designed the interior to be covered in frescoes, and that their having not been carried out, or having perished, results in an 'unsightly appearance', as one old guidebook (by Edmund G. Gardner) puts it.

Apse decoration by Agnolo Daddi of 1388-93, now overshadowed by Giotto's chapels to the right. Dedicated to the relics of the Holy Cross from which the church gets its name. (Franciscan churches are usually called San Francesco) The side walls depict scenes from the Legend and Miracles of the True Cross. Agnolo does well to squeeze this long and complicated story into a series of high and narrow spaces. Endowment split between the Alberti and Alamanni families, Benedetto Alberti also being the sponsor of San Miniato's chapter house.

Giotto  (Ital b4 1400 NGall p229)

Lost art
A polyptych of c.1309 painted by Giotto's studio, with some much-argued-about involvement by the man himself, in the North Carolina Museum of Art is said, by most, to have been painted at the same time as the Peruzzi Chapel here for placing on the altar in that chapel. Also said to be by Giotto and commissioned for either the Peruzzi or Pulci-Baraldi chapel here is the Madonna and Child now in the Washington National Gallery.

Filippo Lippi Madonna and Child with Four Saints painted in the early 1440s for the chapel of the Novitiate in Santa Croce. At the Uffizi since 1919. Pesellino painted the predella, according to Vasari.

26 panels (c.1340) by Taddeo Gaddi which supposedly formed the doors of a sacristy cupboard here. 22 are in the Florence Accademia, 2 are in Berlin Staatliche Museen and 2 in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.

A heptaptych by Ugolino di Nerio, made in Siena for the high altar here in 1325-7, was removed in 1566 when the altar was moved forward four braccia (around 233.6cm) and the altarpiece replaced with a ciborium.  The altarpiece remained in the friars' upper dormitory until the early 19th Century, when it was 'sold to an Englishman'. Most of it is now in the National Gallery in London, but the three surviving main tier panels are in the Gemńldegalerie in Berlin.

Predella panels by Fra Angelico probably belonging to a triptych painted c.1429 for the chapel of the Compagnia di San Francesco here, now in the Vatican Pinacoteca, Berlin and Altenburg.


The church in art
Telemaco Signorini's Carnival in Piazza Santa Croce has the church in the background before the addition of the 19th Century fašade.

Buried here

Taddeo (in the second cloister) and Agnolo Gaddi.

Local colour
According to tradition (and Vasari) Cimabue had his studio in the nearby Borgo Allegri. The visit of Charles of Anjou, King of Naples and the famous procession of the Rucellai Madonna to Santa Maria Novella began here, hence the naming of the street, '...the Glad Borgo from that beauteous face' as Elizabeth Barratt Browning puts it. The story is put in much doubt by the fact that when Charles of Anjou visited the first stone of Santa Maria Novella had yet to be laid, and that the painting is actually by Duccio. But let's not quibble with a precious legend. The procession is depicted in a famous painting by Frederic, Lord Leighton, now in the National Gallery in London.

BBC video about lost Giotto frescoes
 

Santa Maria degli Angeli
via degli Alfani


History
The church of a monastery that belonged to the Camaldolese branch of the Benedictines, which was founded in 1012 by the hermit St. Romuald at Camaldoli, near Arezzo, hence their name. This monastery was founded in 1295. Instrumental in its founding was the poet Guittone d'Arrezzo, who Dante disparages in the Commedia. The complex was sacked in 1378 during the rising of the Ciompi. Remodelled in 1676, the church has a ceiling vault fresco by Alessandro Gherhardini of 1700. The dome of the Ticci Chapel off of the cloister has frescos by Bernardino Poccetti (who also probably painted the altarpiece here) from 1599.

The former refectory contains a 1543 Last Supper by Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio (Davide's nephew) which was restored in 2000.

Suppressed in 1808 the buildings are now used mostly by the university, the church for lectures. Much of the rest of the complex has been absorbed into the Santa Maria Nuova hospital.

Illumination
A major school of manuscript illustration flourished here from the 13th Century, led by Don Simone and Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci (see example of his work right, from the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge). Panel painting was also carried out and it was here that Lorenzo Monaco established himself as both a manuscript illuminator and a painter of panels and frescoes, probably receiving at least part of his training from Don Simone. He became a deacon in 1396, by which time he'd moved out the monastery, but he maintained links - the monastery sold him a house and garden nearby in 1415 and when he died (c.1423/4) he was buried here.

The rotunda
In 1434 Brunelleschi was commissioned by Matteo and Andrea Scolari (the heirs of  condottiere Filippo Scolari aka Pippo Spano) to design another church for the monastery. His original design was  probably inspired by ancient Roman temples and was the first centralized building of the Renaissance. It consisted of a a domed octagon with 8 radiating chapels linked by a narrow passageway that pierced the apses and served as an ambulatory around the octagon, and with a sixteen-sided exterior. The altar would have been in the centre. Construction progressed quite rapidly but was halted due in 1437 when the Scolari funds were confiscated to help pay for the war against Lucca. The building had reached a height of about 7 metres. Around this time it acquired its nickname of Il Castellacio - the broken-down castle. In the 17th Century the shell was finally given a simple wooden roof, but it still deteriorated rapidly. I have a guidebook, written in 1928, which describes Brunelleschi's building as a 'rather picturesque bit of ruin'. The building, which had been put to various uses, was repaired and acquired its current (and controversial) appearance after rebuilding in 1937 by Rodolfo Sabatini. It was given to the university and, you will read elsewhere, thus became known as the Rotonda degli Scolari, but I'd hazard a wild guess that it's so called because of the name of the brothers who first built it.

Lost art
Nardo di Cione's Coronation of the Virgin, 'almost certainly' from here, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. And the same artist's Virgin and Child enthroned with Saints Gregory and Job, in the Santa Croce Museo dell'Opera.  Noli mi Tangere by Jacopo di Cione, a panel from an altarpiece, now in the National Gallery in London.

The Virgin and Child enthroned with Saints by Agnolo Gaddi, now in the Berlin Gemńldegalerie. Andrea del Castagno's fresco of the Crucifixion of c.1453 (see right) now in the Cenacolo di Sant'Appolonia.

Lorenzo Monaco's only signed, and most important, work is the spectacular Coronation of the Virgin (see below right) painted for the high altar here, now in the Uffizi. Another Coronation of the Virgin by Monaco, painted for the Alberti Chapel here, is in the National Gallery, London. The National Gallery also has one of four panels from a predella (the rest are in the Louvre) attributed to Monaco. They may be matched with the Gaddi altarpiece mentioned above, this fact being explained by Monaco probably being a pupil of Gaddi.

The Baptism of Christ, with Saints Peter and Paul and Scenes from the Life of Saint John the Baptist by Niccol˛ di Pietro Gerini, now in the National Gallery in London.


Bibliography

George R Bent - Monastic art in Lorenzo Monaco's Florence: painting and patronage in Santa Maria degli Angeli, 1300-1415


from the Codex Rustici of c.1447
 

 





















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 Niccol˛ 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 della Neve
and The Convent of the Murate
via Ghibellina

History
The oratory was part of the Convent of the Suore Murate, it has a fašade dating from the late 16th Century. Very damaged in the 1966 flood.

The Murate
Built as the Santissima Annunziata alle Murate and Santa Caterina convent in 1424 for the Benedictine nuns moved from crumbling cells (murate means 'walled up') on the Rubaconte Bridge, which was where the Ponte alle Grazie is now. The complex was renovated and expanded first in 1471, after a fire, and again in 1571 after a flood. Documents show that Lorenzo de' Medici financed the early 1470s construction work, but coats of arms and such announcing his involvement were consciously avoided. Caterina de'Medici stayed here from 1528 to 1530 when Queen of France and, after the death of Cosimo I in 1574, so did Camilla Martelli, his second wife.  Also the illegitimate daughters of Don Pietro de 'Medici.

Suppressed by the French in 1808, the convent was rebuilt by the architect Domenico Giraldi in 1845 and turned into a prison after the closing of the Bargello in 1857, which it remained until 1985. During World War II the prison became notorious for the imprisonment and torture of dissidents and partisans captured by the fascists, although not as notorious as the Villa Triste prison on via Bolognese.

The Murate has recently been jazzily restored and transformed into housing units, shops, and restaurants, with pedestrian spaces and a piazza named after the chapel of Santa Maria della Neve. The plans were drawn up by Renzo Piano in 1998 and the complex opened in 2004, although some parts remain unfinished.

Miracle-working images
An image of the nursing Madonna was said to have cured a nun's illiteracy when she prayed before it. The convent also possessed a similarly miraculous Annunciation in the sacristy and a Crucifixion by Neri di Bicci.

A marble relief called the Madonna della Neve, attributed to Desiderio da Settignano or Donatello, floated out of the medical dispensary during a flood and came to rest in an orchard. This was interpreted as showing that the image was desirous of a more  place of display. The image was placed in the convent walls before Duke Alessandro de' Medici took responsibility for the image and had the oratory, with no internal passage to the nunnery, built to house it

Lost art
A Filippo Lippi  Annunciation (c.1450) (see right) is now in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich (but currently (Spring 2013) away being restored).

The Last Supper by Giorgio Vasari, moved from here to Santa Croce after suppression, was much damaged during the 1966 flood, having remained submerged for 12 hours, and has been undergoing restoration (funded by the Getty Foundation) since 2010 at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure. It had been put into storage after the flood due to a lack of funds, a situation exposed by Marco Ferri in November 2003. The restoration is expected to be completed by the middle of 2013. Update - December 2013. The delay is now blamed on the restoration not being technically possible until now, with the Getty Foundation announcing that the planks of the painting have now been put back together and that it's hoped that the restoration will be finished in time for the 50th anniversary of the flood in 2016. Read more here.
 
 





 

Santa Maria in Campo
via del Proconsolo

 
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.






















 

Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi
(deĺPazzi 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. Transferred 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. During this 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, canonized in 1669, from the Pazzi family who, when possessed of the holy spirit, 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.

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 is 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 three-panel fresco of The Crucifixion and Saints (1493-96) by Pietro Perugino, which was commissioned by Dionisio and Giovanna Pucci.

Lost art
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 The Vision of Saint Bernard,(1490/94) (see below right) now in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, was painted for the Nasi family chapel here.

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

Ghirlandaio's Visitation with SS 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 SS 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 Maria Nuova (Oblate)
Lost art
Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Saints
by Rosso Fiorentino, now in the Uffizi.

Santa Teresa - pic in Sant'Onofrio di Fuligno photo 13th thurs 1344
 
   

Santa Teresa
Borgo la Croce

History
A monastery that was founded in 1628 by the Discalced Carmelites. It was built to a design by John Coccapani, who also designed the baroque church. Suppressed, it became a prison in 1866. Damaged by the flood of 1966 it has since been used for other purposes. It is currently being used by the University of Florence's Faculty of Architecture.

From 1765 to 1770 Santa Teresa Margaret Redi lived here, from the family of the famous physician of Arezzo Francesco Redi, and she died here at the age of 23.

 


 



 

Santa Verdiana
via dell'Agnolo



 
  History
A convent founded in 1400 for Vallombrosan nuns. It was named Santa Verdiana, for a nun from Castelfiorentino who lived for 34 years, in the early 13th Century, walled up in a cell together with the two snakes which got into her cell towards the end, but whose presence she never revealed.

The convent was renovated in 1460 courtesy of Cosimo the Elder. 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 1866 their were plans to turn the complex into a women's prison, but it is now used by the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Florence .

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 passed 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 currently still houses a printing press.

 




 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Santi Simone e Guida
Piazza San Simone



 
 
History
Built as a small oratory around 1192 in vineyards owned by the monks of the Badia Fiorentina, the church was enlarged in 1209 and rebuilt in 1243. Consecration followed in 1247 when the building was designated a parish church. It was badly damaged when the Arno flooded in 1527. 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 Bartolomeo Galilei, a relative of Galileo. More renovation in 1630 by the architect Gherardo Silvani, with funds provided by Bartolomeo Galilei, a Knight of Malta, steward to Leopoldo de' Medici and the nephew of the previous Bartolomeo Galilei. The final stage of Silvani's renovation (the richly decorated ceiling) was completed in 1665.

It is currently used by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

Interior
The interior, in pietra serena, has an aisle-less nave with a carved green and gold wooden ceiling, dated 1670 and bearing the Maltese Cross together with the Galilei arms.

On the side altars are paintings by Florentine artists contemporary with the 1630 rebuilding, such as Jacopo Vignali, Francesco Curradi, and Nicodemo Ferrucci. The two marble statues of Santi Simone e Guida are by Orazio Mochi.


Buried in the church are the painter Raffaellino del Garbo (ca. 1466ľ1524), the pupil of Filippino Lippi and teacher of Bronzino; and librettist and poet Andrea Salvadori (1591ľ1634).

 

Santissima Annunziata
Piazza della S.S. Anunziata


History
Santa Maria in Carfaggio, the mother church of the Servite order, was built here in the 13th Century on the site of an earlier monastery abandoned by Franciscans when Santa Croce was built. In 1252, so legend later had it, an Annunciation was painted by one Bartolomeo, supposedly with the help of an angel who completed the painting while the artist, having given up in despair of getting it right, slept. The image's popularity and miracle-working reputation led to the church's rededication in 1314 and a need for expansion. Florence's fascination with The Annunciation is said to date from this painting too. Around this time also began the fad for visiting worthies leaving life-size wax effigies of themselves hanging in the nave or the forecourt. By the 17th Century more than 600 of these votive figures filled the atrium, including one of Lorenzo the Magnificent by Verrocchio. They are all now lost, having been melted down to make candles in 1786. A more major rebuilding took place between 1444 and 1455 to designs by Michelozzo who was the brother of the prior. An argument regarding his polygonal choir, or maybe just the time he was taking, led to Michelozzo being sacked in 1455 by Lodovico Gonzaga who was providing the funding.  First Manetti and later Alberti were employed, the latter transforming Michelozzo's polygonal choir into a rotunda with nine radiating chapels capped by a solid concrete dome. Work finished in 1476. The fašade loggia was built 1601-4 by Giovanni Caccini echoing Sangallo's central arch and matching the flanking loggias in the piazza.

Interior
Pontormo's Visitation (see below) for which he was paid the meagre, for Vasari, sum of 16 scudi, is the highlight of the entrance atrium (see photo right) known as the Ciostrino dei Voti, as it was filled with wax votive offerings. He was buried under it, but his body was moved to the chapel devoted to artists by Fra Giovan Angelo Montorsoli in 1562, under the Trinity painted by his pupil Bronzino, and Allori. There are also scenes  by Andrea del Sarto (Pontormo and Rosso's master) from the life of Beato Filippo Benizzi, his first public commissions from 1509-10 and opposite his two scenes from the life of the virgin, painted later, from 1513. The Birth of the Virgin is the better of the two, looking to have been very influenced by Ghirlandaio's Tornabuoni Chapel frescos in Santa Maria Novella.

An impressively confusing dark and dusty space, with much gilding, the mostly Baroque interior dates to late 17th Century and is by Michelozzo. It has connected chapels up each side and an OTT main altar with chapels in a  semi-circular choir behind. There's an unsignposted door to this choir in the left transept, and I recommend it as there are good views from behind the altar and some superior (if unlabelled) altarpieces around the choir, by Bronzino and Giambologna amongst others.

The tabernacle of 1449 near the entrance was also built to designs by Michelozzo, although Pagno di Lapo Portagiani 'was the master who made it', according to an inscription beneath the cornice at the back. This inscription also records that it was made at the expense of Piero de' Medici. The original marble altar, made at the same time as the tabernacle, is now in the Museo Bardini. The wooden cupola was added in the mid-17th Century. The richly ornamented tabernacle frames the miraculous image of The Annunciation of c. 1340, frescoed onto the inner fašade.  In the later 14th Century this became the foremost of the many image cults of the period due both to its integration into civic religious ceremonies and its patronage by the Medici family. The face of the Virgin was said to have been painted by an angel, or even God, as a treu image of the Virgin, whilst the painter dozed off in frustration. Vasari named the artist as Pietro Cavallini  from Rome, and described him as almost a saint himself.

The inlaid 15th-century cupboards in the sacristy came from the demolished monastery of San Pier Maggiore. Restoration work has revealed some remains of 14th-century frescoes.

The large Choistro dei Morti is mostly occupied by the Istituto Geografico Militare, Italy's national mapping agency. It has the chapel of the artists' confraternity where various late-16th Century painters are buried.

Buried here
Andrea del Sarto, probably.

Lost art
The sinopia (underdrawing) of Andrea Castagna's Vision of San Girolomo between SS Paola and Eustochio is now installed in the refectory of Sant'Appollonia.

Christ with the Four Evangelists by Fra Bartolomeo, now in the Galleria Palatina, with its two side panels to be found in the Galleria dell'Accademia.

The famous Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, completed c. 1475, by Antonio and Piero del Pollaiuolo (arguably their masterpiece) was originally painted for  Antonio Pucci, a Medici employee, for his chapel in the oratory dedicated to Saint Sebastian here. Roberto Pucci, an ancestor, removed it from the oratory, supposedly to be restored, but in 1857 he sold it to the National Gallery in London, where it remains.

Two flanking saints (John and Lucy) by Perugino (subdued in colour but still somewhat drugged looking) from an altarpiece painted for this church are now in the Met in New York.

The church in art
Bernardo Bellotto's Piazza della Santissima Annunziata (see below right).

Local colour
The house bought by Andrea del Sarto,  now called the Casa Zuccari, is on the corner of the former Via del Mandorlo (the present-day Via Giuseppe Giusti) and the Via Gino Capponi. The artist famously bought the house, according to Vasari, with money given to him by King Franšois I of France to buy art for the French court.  This story, taken up by Browning in his poem Andrea del Sarto, called the Faultless Painter, is now widely though to be apocryphal.
 


 















 

Spedale degli Innocenti

    Art highlights
Adoration of the Magi by Ghirlandaio, painted for the high altar of the church here.

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 CoppedŔ.


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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