Churches are supposed to be a place for prayer, a place to devote themselves to God but the churches in Italy, especially Florence are also for the tourists to inspect these famous churches.
The churches of Florence are like a lucky dip some have beautiful frescoes, paintings from famous artists from the Renaissance. Some house the remains of famous rulers in elaborate tombs and then some are very plain and simple that offer very little to tourists.
1 The Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiorre
This will probably be the first place you visit while in Florence, the landmark of the city. If you have ever picked up a brochure of Italy or Florence, you would have seen pictures of this cathedral. Its rich, red cupola liked dome designed and engineered by Fillipo Brunelleschi, the first octagonal dome in history built without support.
The striking facade of pink, green and white marble, contrast to the sparse decoration of the interior is suprising. The cathedral stretches 153 metres and 90 metres in width. You may hurriedly rush up the stairs of the dome to view one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Don’t forget to: Go down to the crypt to see the the austere tomb of Brunelleschi.
Interesting facts about the cathedral: The statue of David was supposed to rest on the roof of the cathedral but after completion there was no way to raise the six ton statue.
2. Basilica Di Santa Croce
When Lucy Honeychurch, the heroine of E.M Forster’s A Room With a View is lost in Santa Croce , she begins to wonder why this church is such a focal point of the area, after all to her it looks more like a barn but what she doesn’t relise is what lies inside is the treasure of the church. The people come to see the splendor of famous Florentine’s tombs such as Michaelangelo, Galileo, Ghiberti, Machiavelli and many others.
Don’t forget to: Also look at the the frescoes by Giotto and his pupils.
Interesting facts about the church: In 1966, the Arno river flooded, water entered the church bringing, mud,pollution, and heating oil. The damage to the buildings were severe, taking several decades to repair.
3 The Medici Chappel
The Medici family ruled Florence from 1437-1737. They were the only rulers who came into power without war. The Medicees made their money through banking, trade and commerce.They would of remained in power but there were no male heirs.
The Medici’s with the help of Michaelangelo built the most ostentatious mausoleum, granite,marble, precious stones and some of Michaelangelo’s most beautiful sculptures cover the two tombs of minor members of the Medici family.The mausoleum was never completed as michaelangelo moved to Rome.
Don’t Forget to: Check Michaelangelo’s famous sculptures, Dawn and Dusk, Night and Day and Madonna and Child.
Interesting facts about the chappel: Michaelangelo lived with the Medici’s in their palace from the age of 14, attending the same school as the Medici’s children.
Michaelangelo’s Dusk to Dawn
Ceiling of the Medici Chapel
4 Basilica di Santa Maria Novella
This is the church closest to Florence’s main train station and probably is the least visited out of the four churches. It is the first great Basilica of Florence, completed in 1360.
Don’t forget to:
Check out Masaccio’s magnificent fresco Trinity, one of the first artworks to use the then newly discovered techniques of perspective and proportion.
Interesting facts about the church:
This church is actually a Dominican church.
When in Florence make sure you open a door to a church, you never know what will be waiting behind the closed doors.