The Santa Maria Novella Basilica in Florence is one of the most famous churches in the city. It is close to the main train station, which is also named after the church. The church was so beautiful that Michelangelo once even called her “My Bride”.
Santa Maria Novella Basilica Florence
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 18 – 50123 Florence, Italy. Telephone: +39 055219257. Opening hours April to September: Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Opening hours October to March: Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Saturdays and days before Catholic holidays: From 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. (July and August until 6.30 p.m.). Sundays and Catholic holidays: 13:00 to 17:30 (July and August 12:00 to 18:00). Admission: 5 Euros. Children under 5: Free. Firenze Card is valid (NB: There are 2 entrances, at Piazza Santa Maria Novella and Piazza della Stazione, 4. Holders of the Firenzecard must use the Piazza della Stazione entrance.
The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is the church of the Dominican monastic order and still has the original facade. The lower part, built in Romanesque style, was designed by Fra’ Jacopo Talenti. The upper part dates from the 15th century and was designed by the architect Leon Battista Alberti.
The financier of the reconstruction was a businessman named Bernardo Ruccellai. He also had his father’s name written on the façade.
Talenti was also the architect responsible for the construction of the church itself, which started in 1246.
The exterior of the church is characterized by a Romanesque style, with alternating green and white marble stripes. The interior is Gothic in nature and is characterized by a single nave with six chapels on either side.
Highlights Santa Maria Novella Basilica Florence
On the left wall is the painting Trinità (“Holy Trinity”) by Masaccio. It was painted around 1425, measures more than 3.17 by 6.67 metres and was the last major work by the artist before his death in 1428. Due to Masaccio‘s innovative perspective, it looked as if he had created a new chapel.
In the transept there are a number of chapels that have been decorated by Filippino Lippi and others.
The chancel is decorated with paintings by Domenico Ghirlandaio. It is believed that one of his assistants was a young Michelangelo. The cycle on the left wall shows “Scenes from the Life of the Virgin”. On the opposite wall, “Scenes from the Life of John the Baptist” can be seen. Many of the characters shown in these paintings have the faces of members of the Tornabuoni family, who financed the paintings.
In the Cappella Gondi (to the left of the main altar) is a Crucifix carved by Brunelleschi.
Paolo Uccello painted a large part of the Chiostro Verde with Old Testament scenes. His “Flood” was partially damaged during a real flood, when the Arno overflowed in 1966.
The so-called Spanish Chapel is painted by Andrea di Bonaiuto.
The Chiostro dei Morti is one of the older parts of the complex. The vaults and chapels in this “Monastery of the Dead” are painted by Nardo di Cione and Andrea Orcagna.
In the sacristy there is a crucifix made by Giotto. This was originally made for the adjacent monastery.
Right next to the church is the Santa Maria Novella Museum.