I have to begin by saying
that, as with my
Churches of Venice site, this is a site
inspired by my passion for art, architecture and history, not
by religious belief. The differences from the Venice site are -
more frescoes, more gothic and more architectural variety.
Venice's division into sestieri made the organisation of that site
easier, though. In 1343 Florence was divided into four quartieri,
each was named after its most important church - Santo Spirito, Santa
Croce, Santa Maria Novella and San Giovanni (the Baptistery). Here I've gone with a version of this division
- labelled East, West, Centre and Oltrarno. Only the East/West split needs
explaining, I think - it is divided by the via Cavour so you'll need to
tilt your map a little anti-clockwise to 'get' it. The centre is basically
the area east of (but not including) Santa Maria Novella; and south and
west of (and including) the Duomo. Each area thereby gets two unmissable
For the outer limits I've gone largely with the outer (14th-century) city
walls. I say 'largely' because I couldn't really ignore San Miniato and
San Salvi. And a few more are also essential, through their connections
with other churches or for the art that they once housed. In June 2015 I added
a page devoted to Fiesole - how could I not? - and in early 2017 a page
devoted to Siena became presentable.
Prato, Arezzo and Pisa are some more possible later additions.
A word about hospitals. As with convents and monasteries it's impossible
to write about churches in Florence and not mention the ospedali.
But if - and this is admittedly not usual - they did not or do not now
have churches attached I've tended to exclude them.
There is no current book, certainly not in English, that lists all of the
churches. And although there is a comprehensive selection on the Italian
Wikipedia site, the entries there are mostly sparse and often taken
word-for-word from those old brown boards on poles outside the important
buildings of Florence, which are often more than somewhat unreliable. My
most-used bibliographic sources are listed below, with any useful books that are devoted to just
one church listed in that church's entry.
To search just within this site using Google, enter your search terms
into the box as usual and then type in site:churchesofflorence.com
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The Friends of Fictional Cities and the Churches of Venice
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9th June 2020
After three months of lockdown
in the UK there's some easing. There's no immediate prospect of travel
abroad getting easy, but at least the prospect of having to put yourself
into quarantine when you return seems to be receding. There's still the
close contact involved in aircraft seating and the likelihood that the
airport check-in and security process will become even more tedious and
lengthy though. Also hotels are saying that their breakfast buffet will be
replaced by a la carte or room service, which will take away much
of the essential joy of breakfasting.
But still - a spark of hope.
16th May 2020
After two months of coronavirus lockdown in the
UK there's talk of easing, and even some planning, but not much prospect
of anything approaching normality for a while yet. I'm a bit of an
antisocial bugger so I'm not pining for meetings with friends or trips to
the pub, but I am missing art, the London Library, restaurant meals, and
trips to Italy - this is the first year since 2009 that I've had no spring
trips there. Cancellations have meant that the Siena and Florence pages
here have not seen updates. But on the positive side I have begun creating
a page devoted to Ferrara on
Venice, as well as revising the Venice
pages there, have discovered a new favourite fruitcake, and I am growing a
beard. And looking forward to 2021.
Due to the coronavirus
lockdown in Italy Florence is now not getting visited by me next week and
neither is Siena in April. In better news all of my websites are now
shifted to their new hosting, I'm very happy to say. With several months
of triplessness in prospect and spending so much time at home, I'm now
contemplating projects. Adding a new city, in optimistic anticipation of a
comprehensive visit, is one option. Another is being more systematic about
each church having an image (and a discussion?) of its best painting, at
the very least. So now's the time - if you've ever thought 'Jeff's
websites are great but I really wish he'd...' let me know.
Making plans for 2020.
The Churches of Venice Bologna and Venice
have had a fair amount of attention of late, but Verona has fallen behind
a bit, my last visit being in 2017. On this
site Siena got a lot of work last year and Florence is getting visited
this March. In addition I'm taking an art history tour of Siena and San
Gimignano in April. Guided trips don't offer much freedom to research, as
a rule, but often do lead to considerable content provision, and this one
includes the Chigi-Saracini collection and the church of Sant'Agostino,
both rarely or barely accessible.
Also my new camera (a Fujifilm X-T30 mirrorless)
helped my take some fine photos in Venice in November, and I now have a
new very-wide-angle lens, which means that Iíve now got to revisit every
church, especially the ones across narrow streets, to get even more of
Even more prosaically all of my sites will be moving to new hosting
next year, and I hope this will go so smoothly you wonít even notice.
This year has been a bit lean
with regard to work on the Florence pages, but I'm currently reading a
book called From Giotto to Botticelli - the artistic patronage of the
Humiliati in Florence which looks like being a trove for my
back from Siena a couple of weeks, so them pages has been getting very
much improvified. Some recent books and exhibition catalogues devoted to
Florence have been read too, resulting in sundry bits of extra enlightenment here
and there. Improvement rather than expansion is my goal this year.
Just back from my trip to Florence and
Arezzo with a fair amount of info and photos to add to the Florence pages,
and small content but big hopes for a future page devoted to Arezzo.