Santa Maria Novella Church, Florence, Italy

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Santa Maria Novella Church is the first church we saw when we arrived by train to Florence in 2016.  It is situated across from the main railway station.  Chronologically, it is the first great basilica in Florence, and is the city’s principal Dominican church.  The church, adjoining cloister and chapter house contain many art treasures that were financed by the most important Florentine families.  But we didn’t  see any treasures, as the rain was pouring down and there were queues,and having just arrived we just want to get to the heart of Florence, before we were washed away.  

The convent was built between 1279 and 1357 by Dominican friars near a 7th century church located in the fields just outside Florence’s medieval walls. The lower part of the marble facade, which is Romanesque in style, is believed to have been executed by a Dominican architect, Fra Iacopo Talenti da Nipozzano, while the upper part was completed only 100 years later in 1470 by Leon Battista Alberti. Thus, the facade is not only the oldest of all the churches in Florence but it is also the only church with its original, planned facade still in place today!

 

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