Santa Maria Novella, Florence

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  • Santa Maria Novella
    by brendareed
  • Santa Maria Novella
    by brendareed
  • Santa Maria Novella
    by brendareed
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    Santa Maria Novella Cloister & Renaissance Art

    by brendareed Updated Jun 14, 2014

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    The Green Cloister and museum at the Church of Santa Maria Novella are separate from the church and have a separate admission fee (January 2012 it was €2.70). If you are interested in art, this would be a good place to visit; if art isn’t really your interest, then I suggest skipping this one.

    The two primary things to see in the cloisters relating to Renaissance art would be the Spanish Chapel and the frescoes by Paolo Uccello in the walkways (see separate tip).

    You find the museum to the left of the church’s façade – head down the short steps and enter through the door. You pay right there and then you can proceed straight ahead to the cloister walkway.

    Now proceed to the end of the walkway and turn left. About mid-way down this part of the walkway will be the Spanish Chapel in the old Chapter House, which is also where St. Catherine of Siena was brought to demonstrate if she was a witch or not. Look around at the frescoes all over the walls, done by Andrea di Bonaiuto.

    On the right side you see scenes that include the Dominicans (in the black and white robes). Of note, the black and white dogs at the bottom of the fresco are attacking brown dogs (symbolic of the Franciscans). The overall scenes demonstrate the dogma of the Dominicans that would tell people the Dominicans’ role in salvation. You also see a Florence Cathedral with a dome – this was done before there was a dome or any vision of how to finish the cathedral. They just had faith that at some point someone would come around and know what to do.

    On the left side of the Chapter House the frescoes show The Triumph of Catholic Doctrine with a line up of famous saints, virtues, and men of the arts.

    I didn’t visit the museum part of this venue, but it is in the old refectory (dining hall) and displays old liturgical objects and some remains of frescoes from the Church.

    Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday 9 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.
    Holidays 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
    Days of closure Closed on Friday, Sundays and New Year's Day, Easter, May 1, August 15 and Christmas

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

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    Uccello in Santa Maria Novella's Cloister

    by brendareed Written Jun 14, 2014

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    As you walk into the cloisters, be on the lookout for the Uccello frescoes on your right side; they are not too far into the cloisters from the museum lobby. The primary one to look at is the Noah and the Ark scene, which was painted by Paolo Uccello in 1431. Much of the paint is gone (this happens when it is outside) and so the painting isn’t in great shape, has a green tint to it, and when I was there had tape going across the middle of it. But it is a great painting demonstrating perspective (Uccello was obsessed with perspective!).

    Starting from the left and moving right, you can see the entire flood scene. On the left the ark is large and there are people fighting outside it as the rain begins. As your eyes move towards the back (there’s that one point perspective again) you can see the storm raging, lightning striking, and trees bending. As you continue to look to the right, the storm ends, Noah releases the dove, and then gets out to survey the damage, including the birds pecking at the dead bodies. The people in the center of the painting show emotion as they try to stay afloat in barrels. Great fresco by a master of perspective.

    Another feature typical in Uccell's work is the black and white pattern (see the ring around the one person's neck). You'll find this pattern in most of Uccello's works. And the pattern goes very well with the Dominican theme of Santa Maria Novella, don't you think?

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    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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  • MatthewMetcalfe's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Novella

    by MatthewMetcalfe Written Oct 5, 2004

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    Santa Maria Novella

    Santa Maria Novella was the first European Church I had ever seen. It was awesome even though it paled in comparison to The Dome or St. Peter's in Rome. Inside, the craftsmanship is unlike anything I've seen in American Churches. Artwork from the masters is found in almost every nook.

    Built over generations, the patrons of the church who gave extraordinary support in building it are entombed in the wall surrounding the courtyard. Each tomb has the Family Crest on it.

    There are often lines to get in so leave plenty of time to see it. The Street Vendors sometime sell books on the church as well. They are relatively inexpensive ($10.00 or so) and give a great history of the building.

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    • Religious Travel
    • Architecture

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  • vanessadb's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Novella, The...

    by vanessadb Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Santa Maria Novella, The Church and the Cloisters
    The Church of Santa Maria Novella is one of the many beautiful churches of Florence. Frescoes from Giotto, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Ghirlandaio and many others are featured inside. Masaccio's Trinity is there as well.

    Make sure you don't miss the Cloisters (separate entrance and ticket) and the simple yet enchanting Chapel of the Spaniards.

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    the cloister of Santa Maria...

    by gkitzmil Written Aug 24, 2002

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    the cloister of Santa Maria Novella
    The monumental complex of the cloister of Santa Maria Novella adjoins the church and is full of important paintings. Begun in 1340 and completed internally in 1360, the cloisters were designed by Fra' Sisto and Fra' Ristoro. They are among the most beautiful examples of Italian Gothic architecture.

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  • viddra's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Novella

    by viddra Written May 21, 2007
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    This church was built in the 13th century with white and green marble.

    Important works of art inside are the frescoes by Masaccio portraying the Holy Trinity (1427), the Crucifix by Brunelleschi and the one by Giotto.

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    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel

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  • morganna's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Novella

    by morganna Updated Jul 30, 2004

    This jewel was designed by Leonbattista Alberti, one of most important architects of reanaissance architecture. He also wrote some books about the art of building, so here we have again one of those "Renaissance Man".

    In fact, Alberti just designed the façade of an existing medieval church, using a rational and geometrical composition.

    After admiring the façade, when you get inside, you will able to enjoy a lot of masterpieces of artists like Masaccio, Giotto or Ghirlandaio!

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    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture

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    Trinity by Masaccio

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 12, 2005

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    This pioneering fresco (c. 1428) is renowned as a masterpiece of perpsective and portraiture. The kneeling figures flanking the arch are the painting's sponsors - judge Lorenzo Lenzi and his wife.

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  • pasqualeswife's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Novella

    by pasqualeswife Written Feb 16, 2004

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    Santa Maria Novella

    The first stone of the present church of Santa Maria Novella was laid in October of 1279. Don't miss the frescoes by Ghirlandaio and in the sacristy, some magnificent works by Della Robbia.

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    Cloisters of Santa Maria Novella

    by pasqualeswife Written Feb 16, 2004

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    Cloisters of Santa Maria Novella

    The cloisters of Santa Maria Novella have traces of ancient frescoes left that have been faded by time and the elements. Still, well worth seeing.

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  • littlesam1's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Della Novella

    by littlesam1 Updated Jan 6, 2004

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    Santa Maria Della Novella

    Another beautiful church in Florence is Santa Maria Della Novella. Just around the corner is the world famous Santa Maria Della Novella Perfumeria where perfums are made.

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  • l_riva_l's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Novella

    by l_riva_l Written May 22, 2005

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    Santa Maria Novella is a lovely gothic church built by the Dominicans from 1279 to 1357.
    It contains some of the more important works of art in Florence.

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  • sandravdp's Profile Photo

    By walking in the direction of...

    by sandravdp Written Sep 7, 2002

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    By walking in the direction of the river Arno some more you will get to the Santa Maria Novella Church.

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  • JaumeBCN's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria Novella was built...

    by JaumeBCN Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Santa Maria Novella was built between 1279 and 1357 and it is one of the charmest churches in Florence. Of course, there are some works of art inside, this time by Masaccio and Paolo Ucello.

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