Florence - an amazing city in Italy, which attracts a huge number of tourists every year. Which is quite understandable and understandable - there really is something to see. One of the central attractions in Florence, which, in truth, is often overlooked, is Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. No, and the point is not that the temple is not included in various tops and lists, but rather in its rather modest appearance.

Santa Maria Novella Basilica in Florence

Perhaps many potential visitors believe that nothing special awaits them inside as well and make a colossal mistake.

What does Santa Maria Novella look like inside?

This ancient Dominican temple began to be built in the middle of the 13th century, and was completed only in 1470. During this time, they managed to build not only the basilica, but also the monastery, as well as completely rebuild the facade according to the project Alberta Leon Battista.

Santa Maria Novella Tower Florence

But you really marvel at the architecture of Santa Maria Novella only when you get inside. The huge three-aisled temple from the first seconds of your stay delights with its size and interiors.

Basilica Santa Maria Novella in Florence

There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of works of art by leading Italian masters of the 14th-16th centuries. Unique sculptures, altars of the most famous figures of Italy and prominent residents of Florence.

Florence The Last Supper of the Dominican nun Plautilla Nelly

What jobs are worth paying attention to?

Making a list and marking each work is a task that only an art historian or culturologist specializing in such topics can handle. For a simple tourist, general information may be enough, but in order to get a detailed one, I recommend contacting local guides.

Tornabuoni Central Chapel

Check out the frescoes Domenico Ghirlandaiooccupying several walls entirely.

Tornabuoni Chapel

On the left wall are famous scenes from the Bible: the Death and Ascension of Mary, the Adoration of the Magi, the Expulsion of Joachim from the Temple and many others.

Tornabuoni Chapel painting

The right wall is also dedicated to biblical scenes: the Sermon of John the Baptist, the Feast of Herod and others.

Tornabuoni Chapel Basilica Santa Maria Novella Florence

On the central, altar wall, you can see the saints revered by the Dominican order, as well as the main sponsors of Domenico Ghirlandaio.

Shown here Giovanni Tornabuoni (donor) and his wife Francesca Pitti, St. John the Baptist in the desert, the scene of the “Coronation of Mary”.

Tornabuoni Chapel stained glass

To the right is located Chapel of Filippo Strozzi, where pay attention to the side paintings: The Life of St. Philip and the Life of John the Evangelist.

Chapel of Filippo Strozzi

In the center is a huge arched window with a stained-glass window - one of the most beautiful in this cathedral.

Chapel of Filippo Strozzi in the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

Chapel of Filippo Strozzi painting


This mural is by Tommaso Guidi, better known as Masaccio, completed in 1426. The work is considered a model of the early Italian Renaissance, as well as one of the first examples where the technique of illusory perspective was implemented. Located on the wall of the western nave, next to Rucellai Chapel.

Rucellai Chapel in the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

Walking along the walls of the temple, I advise you to look into every room where you can expect another masterpiece of Italian art.

Sacristy of Santa Maria Novella

Sacristy of Santa Maria Novella

Chapel Gaddi

Chapel of the Gaddi Florence

Brunelleschi's crucifixion in the Gondi Chapel

Crucifixion of Brunelleschi in the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

From the basilica you enter the first courtyard, where another chapel awaits you, as well as the Santa Maria Novella Museum. Pay attention to details, symbols and elements, a lot will be right under your feet.

chiostro verde

Spanish Chapel

The Spanish Chapel is one of the outer chapels of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Novella. Known and interesting for the rich cycle of frescoes of the second half of the 14th century, made Andrea di Bonaiuto.

What to see in Florence?

Painting inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

Below is the work “The Triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas”

What does the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella look like?

The next stage of the tour is the large courtyard of the monastery. Cappella degli Ubriachi. Here, in addition to ancient frescoes, you can see various ancient artifacts and visit the museum of the cathedral.

Museum of Santa Maria Novella in Florence

Entrance to the museum and the basilica is paid - the ticket price starts from 8 euros, you can buy online.

Working hours: from 8:30 to 19:30, from mid-spring to mid-autumn, the opening hours increase by one hour. Sunday is a day off.

What is a must see in Florence?

The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is located on the square of the same name, next to the railway station of the same name, you definitely won’t pass by. Below is the point with the location of the cathedral on the map:

Read also about leaning tower of pisa (the city of Pisa an hour's drive from Florence) and my review about great home hotel near this basilica.

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