Basilica Di Santa Maria Novella, Florence

4.5 out of 5 stars 47 Reviews

Piazza di Santa Maria Novella 055-210-113

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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    The Chapels of Santa Maria Novella

    by Jefie Updated Jun 29, 2010

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    Located near the city's main train station, Santa Maria Novella is the oldest basilica in Florence. Its construction began in 1279 and ended in 1360, several decades before the Duomo and Santa Croce were completed. Even though the latter two churches are more popular with visitors, Santa Maria Novella is also worth visiting, especially for the amazing art treasures hidden in its chapels. Several of the city's most influential artists were commissioned by wealthy citizens to decorate the basilica and, in some cases, work continued until the 16th century. I thought the Tornabuoni Chapel, which contains Ghirlandaio's depictions of the lives of St. Mary and St. John the Baptist, was particularly impressive. Another work of art worth seeing at Santa Maria Novella is Masaccio's "Holy Trinity", famous for its early use of perspective and "trompe l’oeil" techniques. It's also interesting to know that the same kind of "trompe l’oeil" technique was used for the construction of the church; indeed, as you get closer to the back of the church, the nave's pillars are set slightly further apart, which gives the impression that the 100 m long nave is even longer.

    Admission to Santa Maria Novella costs 5 Euros. Entrance is through a side door that actually leads to the basilica's old cemetery. You should also make sure once you're done visiting the church to take a few minutes to walk around its lively piazza. Piazza di Santa Maria Novella was built at the same time as the basilica, and from the very beginning it was - and still is - used for different celebrations and festivities. For example, Amerigo Vespucci's return from America was celebrated there, and in the 16th century, when Cosimo I de Medici decided to reintroduce the concept of Roman chariot races in Florence, the races took place at this piazza around the large obelisks (sculpted by Giambologna) that can still be seen today.

    Santa Maria Novella Basilica in Florence
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    Santa Maria Novella

    by Polly74 Written Aug 3, 2004

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    Santa Maria Novella was built on the site of the 10th-century Dominican oratory of Santa Maria delle Vigne. Building began in the mid-13th century, and was finished in the mid-14th century.

    It was designed by two Dominican friars, Fra Sisto da Firenze and Fra Ristoro da Campi. On a commission from the Rucellai family Leone Battista Alberti designed the black and white marble facade of the church (1456-1470). Giorgio Vasari was the architect for the first remodelling of the church, which included removing its original rood-screen and loft. The second remodelling was designed by Enrico Romoli, and was carried out between 1858 and 1860.

    Santa Maria Novella

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    Santa Maria Novella - Interior

    by Polly74 Written Aug 3, 2004

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    The interior is designed as a Latin cross and is divided up into three naves.
    The centre nave is 100 metres long.
    The chapels include the della Pura Chapel, the Rucellai Chapel, the Bardi Chapel, the Filippo Strozzi Chapel, and the Gondi Chapel.

    Artists who produced items for the church include Masaccio, Paolo Uccello, Brunelleschi, Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi, Vasari.... to mention some of the most famous italian artists.

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  • kenyneo's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Novella

    by kenyneo Updated Oct 10, 2004

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    Its really a strange sight for me , when I passed by her , she was wearing a dark brown brick gown...but when I saw her again when I was on the other side , she is white pearl with intricate light green and pink colour.

    So mystique, strong and plain one side,
    So beautiful, soccolourful on the other ...
    Just like the human character ....

    Original Latin cross plan church by Fra Sisto and Fra Ristoro, 1278 to 1350. Renaissance facade by Alberti, begun 1456.Architecture of Gothic with Italian Renaissance facade

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  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Novella

    by croisbeauty Updated Sep 20, 2005

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    Santa Maria Novella is one of the most attractive churches of Firenze. Ir was built in the 13th and 14th centuries by Sisto da Firenze and Ristoro da Campi and finished only in 1348 by Jacopo Talenti. The bell-tower in Romanesque Gothic style was added in 1330. The marvelous front facade was remade between 1456 and 1470 by Leon Battista Alberti, who designed the portal and the wall above it. In adjacent to the church there is the old cemetery.
    The interior of this one nave and two aisles church is stunning, rich of splendid chapels adorned by the works of leading artists of the age. Worth of visiting are two adjacent cloisters, Small Cloister of the Dead in Romanesque style with number of tomb slabs and the Great Cloister with over fifty arches, completely frescoed by the greatest Fiorentine painters of the 15th and 16th centuries.

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  • m-joy's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Novella

    by m-joy Written Jul 6, 2004

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    This big church was built in the 13th century. It has a wonderful marble façade which was completed in the middle of the 15th century. The interior is just gigantic and seems to be much larger because of an architectural trick: the architect reduced the pillar’s distances from the entrance to the altar. Moreover the church has a multitude of frescos inside.

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  • bpwillet's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Novella

    by bpwillet Written Feb 22, 2004

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    Dominican friars began to build the church in 1246 on the site of a l0th century Dominican oratory. The nave and aisles were finished in 1279 and the building was finished in the middle of the 14th century. The campanile and the Sacristy were done by Jacopo Talenti. The facade was remodelled between 1456 and 1470 by Leon Battista Alberti to replace an earlier one from the 14th century. The inlay work on top is bordered by heraldic sails of the Rucellai family who commissioned the building of the church.

    Facade of Santa Maria Novella
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  • Andraf's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Novella

    by Andraf Updated Nov 27, 2003

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    This gothic church contains some of the most important works of art in Florence. It was built by the Dominicans starting in 1246 and finished in the mid 14th century. The beautiful facade was completed in two phases, a century apart from one to another but I believe it comes together just fine. Inside you can see Masaccio's Trinity one of the first works of art to employ perspective, announcing the arrival of the Renaissance. Look also for the wooden crucifix by Filippo Brunelleschi and for the beautiful chapels that line the walls, frescoed by famous Florentine artists.

    Santa Maria Novella, Firenze

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  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Novella

    by leffe3 Written May 29, 2007

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    Close to the main railway station, this could be the first of the great churches/monuments that most tourists see (although chances are its not). Clad in the white (from Cararra) and green (from Prato) marble similar to the Duomo.

    Begun in the 11th century, the exterior is essentially a mix of 14th century ground floor with 15th century upper storey, with the avelli arcade (burial vaults) running round the cemetery.

    Interetsing though it is, its the extraordinary OTT interior, the clever architectural deisgn of decreasing he distance between the central columns the closer they get to the altar, making the nave look longer than it actually is, along with Masaccio's 'The Trinity' fresco and early use of (successful) perspective and classical proportion. But if longer for more classical Italian art fix, then Ghirlandaio's altar pics are worth checking out, there's Filipino Lippi's frescoes and there's even a Brunelleschi 'Crucifix'.

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    Santa Maria Novella - near the train station

    by Beausoleil Written Apr 16, 2005

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    If you enter Florence by train or bus, this is one of the first things you'll pass on your way to the historic center of town. We were on our way to the Duomo and couldn't resist this beautiful church.

    You enter through the cloister (yes, there's a fee) and enter the church. As soon as you enter, you realize the facade was added years after the church was built.

    There is a wonderful painting by Masaccio that has fairly recently been restored and is one of the very earliest works using perspective. Fascinating.

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  • littlesam1's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Della Novella

    by littlesam1 Updated Jan 6, 2004

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    The outside of Santa Maria Della Novella did not look impressive. It was smaller than the other churches we saw in Florence. The outside was attractive but not as eye catching as the Duomo or Santa Croce. However once inside any doubts about it are erased. It is filled with artwork and beauty. This picture shows some of the beautiful stained glass the nave. Like everything else in Florence it was memorable and masterful.

    Santa Maria Della Novella
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  • Grazina's Profile Photo

    ;Church of Santa Maria Novella

    by Grazina Written Nov 23, 2004

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    The building of the monastery complex the largest in the city was initially undertaken by two Dominican architects, Fra'Sisto and Fra' Ristoro. Later directed by their fellow monks, Fra' Jacopo Talenti and Fra' Giovanni da Campi, work was completed during the mid-14th century.

    The view of the facade of the church.

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  • geeyook's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Novella

    by geeyook Written Jul 20, 2004

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    This gothic church was built on the site of a 10th century of a Dominican church, Santa Maria delle Vigne. Building started in the mid 13th century and completed in the mid 14th century. The facade was completed in the 15th century. It houses many important works of art from the 14th, 15th and 16th century.

    Santa Maria Novella

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  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Novella

    by HORSCHECK Written Apr 3, 2003

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    The church of Santa Maria Novella was finished in the middle of the 14th century. The facade is one of the earliest and most beautiful in Florence. It is a beautiful black and white building which dominates the Piazza Santa Maria Novella.

    Piazza Santa Maria Novella
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  • Church of Santa Maria Novella

    by kedi+ Written Apr 14, 2003

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    This was the first building I visited when I entered Firenze.. We parked the car in the underground carpark just across the station and started our daily feet tour and it was there... 8))
    About its history, the church was begun in 1278 and was finished in 1360. It's in Lombard style with several stories decorated with small arches and harmonious windows..
    Façade is built with green and white marble and harmonizes well with the architectural complex of the church.
    Interior is in the form of "T" with a nave, two aisles and cross vaulted ceiling..
    Go to find it to have more.. ;))

    Santa Maria Novella

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