The Church of Santa Maria Novella – What you need to know
The Church of Santa Maria Novella is still one of the most important churches in Florence, located in the square of the same name, and was the main church of the Dominican order.
The first stone was laid in 1279, following designs by Fra’ Sisto of Florence and later those of fra’ Jacopo Talenti, and was finished after the mid-14th century. It underwent various modifications over the course of time, and the large central portal designed by Leon Battista Alberti was finished in 1470, together with the upper facade in white and dark green marble. Alberti managed to create a perfect harmony of relationships and proportions between the various modular elements using mathematical calculations, which is the secret of its beauty.
Following this, it was further renovated by Giorgio Vasari, with the last alterations being made by the architect Enrico Romolito in 1858. Elements of Gothic architecture were also incorporated in Santa Maria Novella, with the height of the central nave being at the very limit of static possibility. Giotto’s crucifix, dated to 1290, is at the back, at a height of 45 metres, reallocated in 2001 to what was probably its original place in 1421. The windows were made in the 14th and 15th century by Lippi and Bonaiuti.
There are innumerable works of art inside the church, where all the great Renaissance masters left the mark of their great work: Masaccio with his “Trinity”, the first study in perspective, on a par with the architectural breakthroughs of Brunelleschi, or those in sculpture by Donatello. The Crucifix by Brunelleschi is the only wooden sculpture known by the Florentine architect, and there are works by Ghiberti, Domenico Ghirlandaio and frescoes by Filippo Lippi.
The Church of Santa Maria Novella at a Glance
When to visit: Monday/Saturday
Opening hours: 9:00 am – 5:30 pm – Sunday closed
Ticket Price: Full Price € 5.00 Reduced €3.50 – Children up to 5 years of age FREE
Directions: Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 18, 50123 Florence
Our Best Tips: Visitors are required to pay for their ticket at the ticket office before entering the church.(cash only)
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