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Slow Travel Google Map: Italy, Florence Churches

Author: WestSussexBird
Notes: Churches of Florence recommended on Slow Talk, either as 'favorite churches' or for the 'favorite frescoes' they contain. I have also included markers for other major churches in the city. (F) after a name indicates that the church contains recommended frescoes. (Please note: The markers do not appear to be correctly postitioned in zoomed-in satellite views; this is because Google's Satellite views for Florence seem to be out of alignment by up to 50 metres. I hope Google will correct this in due course.)

Churches

Badia Fiorentina (SV)

Recommended by Coco Pazzo "more for its historical significance than its artistic splendors."
The Badia (which is opposite the Bargello museum) is the old Benedictine abbey of Florence. Its elegant bell-tower is a prominent landmark. The interior is noted for a painting by Filippino Lippi and important monuments and sculptures by Mino da Fiesole. Next to the church is a peaceful cloister with frescoes.
The abbey is now occupied by a young religious community of monks and nuns.

Baptistery (SV)

This octagonal church is the oldest building in Florence. It stands in front of the Duomo and, like the cathedral, is clad in splendid marble. The three sets of bronze doors are covered in magnificent bronze sculptures; the east doors are the so-called "gates of paradise." The lovely interior is covered in mosaics.

Duomo (SV)

Recommended by Christian
- "for the sheer size of it, obviously, and the beauty of the exterior's intricate design. I will never forget the first time I turned a street corner and first saw it!"
The Duomo is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. The magnificent marble-clad exterior is crowned by Brunelleschi's famous dome and is complemented by Giotto's campanile. The interior is remarkable for its austerity, and also for two striking frescoes depicting trompe l'oeil equestrian sculptures and a huge fresco of The Last Judgement inside the dome.
The Museo dell'Opera del Duomo is a first-class museum containing numerous sculptures and other artifacts removed from the cathedral and baptistery.

Fuligno (F) (SV)

Cenacolo (Last Supper fresco) recommended by Kevin Clark.

Lo Scalzo (F) (SV)

Noted for frescoes in the cloister by Andrea del Sarto.

Medici Chapels (S Lorenzo) (SV)

The Medici family commissioned superb works of art in their funeral chapels attached to their parish church, San Lorenzo. Michelangelo was responsible for both the architecture of the New Sacristy and for the sculpture of the tombs within it. The Princes' Chapel is a huge mausoleum lavishly decorated in pietra dura.
These chapels are entered by a separate entrance behind S Lorenzo.

Ognissanti (F) (SV)

Recommended for the frescoes by Kevin Clark and WestSussexBird.
- "As well as the lovely Last Supper by Ghirlandaio there are fine frescoes in the church by Botticelli (of St Augustine) and by Ghirlandaio (one of St Jerome and another of a Madonna della Misericordia with the family of Amerigo Vespucci, after whom America was named.)"

Oratorio dei Buonomini (F) (SV)

The Oratorio dei Buonomini di San Martino is a tiny chapel with frescoes by the workshop of Ghirlandaio.
Recommended by WestSussexBird
- "This was a great and delightful surprise since we had not seen any mention of it in a guidebook and we happened on the chapel by chance. It is right in the heart of Florence, a stone's throw from the Piazza della Signoria, and is a peaceful haven. Although the paintings were not of the highest quality, they were nonetheless delightful, especially because of the subject matter, which is entirely devoted to acts of charity."

Orsanmichele (SV)

Church recommended by dean.
This is an unusual church. The building was originally a market hall; the ground floor loggia was converted into a church in 1380. The interior contains a magnificent 14th-century tabernacle. The niches on the exterior represent a museum of 15th-century Florentine sculpture.

Palazzo Medici-Riccardi (F) (SV)

This palace is listed here for the wonderfully enjoyable frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli, which fill the chapel. The frescoes show a procession of the Magi and include portraits of members of the Medici clan and other notable people of the time.
Kevin Clark recommended these
"wonderful" frescoes and added: "don't miss the exhibit on the ground floor where you in essence become the "mouse" and point at the big screen to hear more detail about various sections of the fresco."

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San Lorenzo (SV)

This is an impressive but relatively austere church. Highlights of the interior include bronze pulpits by Donatello and an Annunciation by Filippo Lippi; there is also, unusual for Florence, a 20th century painting (Christ in the Carpenter's Workshop) by Annigoni. The Old Sacristy was designed by Brunelleschi and decorated by Donatello. The Laurentian Library, entered from the cloister, was designed by Michelangelo. (Michelangelo's New Sacristy is entered through the separate Medici Chapels entrance.)

San Marco (F) (SV)

Recommended by s tenen, "spectacular" and by Kevin Clark for "the Last Supper fresco by Ghirlandaio in the bookshop"
and by WestSussexBird "for the Fra Angelico frescoes in the monastery including the Crucifixion in the Chapter House, the Annunciation at the top of the stairs, and the series of frescoes in the monks' cells."
There is also a museum in the monastery containing many of Fra Angelico's finest paintings.

San Miniato al Monte (F) (SV)

Church recommended by Fibonacci, s tenen & WestSussexBird.
- "Read the story of the martyrdom of San Miniato! Yowee!"
- "... its location, its architecture and its magical atmosphere ..."
Frescoes recommended by WestSussexBird
- "Late 14th century frescoes in the Sacristy by Spinello Aretino on the life of St Benedict; these excellent frescoes cover the walls and the vault; there are benches on both sides where you can sit and contemplate the pictures, often completely alone, for as long as you like."
S Miniato is one of the oldest churches in Florence with an elegant facade and a magical interior. Features include ancient geometric marble decoration on the pulpit, choir screen and floor, an ornate side chapel and an atmospheric crypt. One of the best times to visit is when the monks sing Gregorian chants at the late-afternoon vespers.
San Miniato also has one of the best views of Florence.

San Salvi (F) (SV)

The refectory contains Andrea del Sarto's sumptuous fresco of The Last Supper.

Sant' Apollonia (F) (SV)

Cenacolo (Last Supper) by Castagno recommended by Kevin Clark.

Santa Croce (F) (SV)

Church recommended by CShock & Kim. This is a large Franciscan preaching church. Many famous Florentines were buried here and the church contains important and impressive memorials.
Frescoes recommended by WestSussexBird
- "There is a feast of 14th-century frescoes covering the walls of several chapels and the sanctuary."
The cloisters give access to the Pazzi Chapel, designed by Brunelleschi, and a museum containing other major works of art including a Crucifixion by Cimabue.

Santa Felicita (F) (SV)

Frescoes recommended by WestSussexBird
- This church is famous for a fresco of The Deposition by Pontormo. There is also a striking Annunciation by the same artist.
Also see the fine paintings in the sacristy if you can (you may need to visit immediately after a Mass to get access to the sacristy).
Another curiosity is that the Vasarian Corridor passes through the west end of the church on its way between the Uffizi and Pitti palaces, providing the Medicis with a view down into the church.

Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi (SV)

Crucifixion fresco recommended by dean and by Coco Pazzo. "Well, if the category is 'less well known and less crowded,' a hands down winner is 'Crucifixion and Saints' (1493-96) by Perugino, grand master of the Umbrian school, found by entering through a cloister for the church Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi, at Borgo Pinti 58 in Florence.
It has limited hours, but when open you first visit a little lady or man in the right hand chapel and make a modest donation, then follow the directions downstairs and around through the crypt, and then up again, to enter a chapel that you will have all to yourself.
While it isn't Brancacci Chapel or Assisi, it is all yours to enjoy in solitude!"
(Note: although the church is open the Perugino Crucifixion is currently closed. (April 2007))

Santa Maria Novella (F) (SV)

Church recommended by Sonia. Frescoes recommended by colleenk, Kevin Clark and WestSussexBird
- "I am captivated by the Ghirlandaio frescoes"
- "The frescoes inside by Ghirlandaio and Filippino Lippi are well known, but there are also very nice frescoes in the Green Cloister by Uccello (sadly deteriorated) and in the Spanish Chapel by Bonaiuto."
- "Of all the frescoes we saw in Florence I think the Spanish Chapel frescoes were the easiest to enjoy. You can sit and look at them for as long as you like."
The church is huge ... it was the Dominicans' main preaching church in Florence. As well as the frescoes already mentioned there are also an unforgettable fresco of The Trinity by Masaccio and one of The Nativity by Botticelli above the west door.

Santa Maria del Carmine (F) (SV)

Recommended by colleenk, Kevin Clark and Marian for the frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel. "Particularly memorable is the Adam and Eve."

Santa Trinita (SV)

This is a Gothic church behind its baroque exterior. The highlights of the interior include frescoes by Lorenzo Monaco and Domenico Ghirlandaio.

Santi Apostoli (SV)

Recommended by Karl Josker. "One block up from Ponte Vecchio, left on Borgo Santi Apostoli, and a long half block to the church on the left. It is stark and austere, but exudes a feeling of what the dark ages and medieval times might have been like."

Santissimi Annunziata (SV)

Recommended by Christian
- "Although most people visit it for the historically important fresco, I found that the inside of the church was also worth seeing."
Fresco recommended by WestSussexBird
- "We particularly liked a fresco in the cloister of the Nativity by Baldovinetti, including a lovely landscape."
SS Annunziata contains a highly venerated shrine of the Madonna enclosed in a very ornate tabernacle, and is one of the churches most beloved by Florentines.
In the square in front of the church is the portico of the Ospedale degli Innocenti, one of the most influential early renaissance architectural works. This was designed by Brunelleschi and it is decorated with delightful Della Robbia glazed terracotta medallions depicting infants in swaddling clothes.

Santo Spirito (SV)

(Currently closed - April 2007)
S Spirito is noted for for the architecture of its interior by Brunelleschi.

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