Church of Santa Maria Novella
The Church of St Maria Novella in Florence preserves some of the most important works of art of the city. Situated in one of the biggest Piazzas, the church's been built by Dominican monks between 1279 and 1357.
The stunning façade was made by Leon Battista Alberti (1456-70), combining Romanesque and Renaissance elements. Walking on your left inside the church, you'll see the "Chiostro Verde" (green courtyard), so called because of the dominant colour of the beautiful frescoes by Paolo Uccello, unfortunately a bit damaged after the incredible inundation of 1966.
The lovely "Cappellone degli Spagnoli", once used by the Spanish retinue of Eleonora da Toledo, Cosimo I's wife, nowadays is a museums with marvellous frescoes representing "damnation and salvation".
Once passed the monastic residences, you'll bump into the Chapel Strozzi, where the XIV century frescoes masterfully made by Nardo di Cione and his brother Andrea, known as Orcagna, were inspired to the Dante's Divine Comedy. You'll get into the chapel through wonderful porticoes, whose arches are marked by a special white and grey frame.
The chapel is followed by a second one: Chapel Tornabuoni, where the cycle of frescoes by Ghirlandaio represents biblical episodes, through picturesque Florentine characters with contemporary dresses and furniture.
A few steps away there are the chapel of Filippo Strozzi and his tomb (made by Benedetto da Maiano, in 1493), decorated with impressive frescoes by Filippino Lippi (1497-1502) on the vault and walls.
You'll note the particular naves' structure, whose eastern pillars are close to each other in order to give a deepness illusion. Walking among the the porticoes, you'll be amazed by the famous "Trinity" by Masaccio. Masterpiece of perspective and portraiture, dated back to 1427, representing Maria, St John, the death, as well as the judge Lorenzo Lenzi and his wife, that commissioned the fresco.
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