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West

Adorazione Perpetua
Chiarito
Ognissanti
Sacro Cuore al Romito
Saint James Episcopal
San Barnaba
San Clemente
San Francesco dei Vanchetoni
San Gaetano
San Giovanni di Dio
San Giovannino dei Cavalieri
San Giuliano
San Giuseppe (oratory)
San Giuseppino
San Giuseppe
San Jacopino
San Jacopo di Ripoli
San Jacopo in Campo Carbolini
San Lorenzo
San Martino della Scala
Santa Maria della Scala
San Paolino
Sant'Agata
Sant'Apollonia
Sant'Onofrio di Fuligno
Sant'Orsola
Santa Caterina
Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore
Santa Lucia sul Prato
Santa Maria Novella
Santa Trìnita
Santi Jacopo e Filippo
Scalzo, Chiostro dello

 

Adorazione Perpetua
Via Bernardo Rucellai


 


History
The monastery and the Church of Perpetual Adoration belongs to the Teresian Carmelite Institute, founded by Teresa Maria Manetti (1846 - 1910) who was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 1986 at the stadium in Florence. It was built in 1900 - 1902, on the site of the gardens of the demolished monastery of Sant'Anna sul Prato, using donations from Marchesi Antinori, by Giovanni Paciarelli  in a style inspired by 15th Century Florentine classical architecture. Paciarelli was also responsible for the art nouveau Magazzino Pola & Todescan building near the Piazza della Repubblica and the Russian Orthodox Church.



Interior
Small and squarish and aisleless, with pale grey structural elements dominating the buff walls. Three shallow bays either side with a pair of altars with modern altarpieces in the centre of each side, the other bays being three doors and a confessional. A dark flat coffered ceiling with gilt decoration and an oval painting in the centre. A sweet little domed apse with nuns' screens either side.





 

Chiarito
105 via San Gallo


History

Santa Maria Regina Coeli, the convent of Il Chiarito, derived its commonly-used name from the Beato Chiarito del Voglia, the  Blessed Chiarito, a local holy man who founded the Augustinian convent here in 1343, with his wife, Constanza Dolcibeni, becoming the first abbess. Chiarito was a wealthy layman who experienced a vision in 1328 when, whilst tending the tomb of Saint Zenobius, the first bishop of Florence, the Saint himself appeared to him and cured his lingering throat ailment. Chiarito then took a vow of chastity (although he had a family already) and devoted his life to the care of nuns and chaste women and become prone to visions, as depicted in the Tabernacle later commissioned for the convent (see below).


In 1424 there was a serious fire and the church was rebuilt in 1550 with further work in 1656 on the convent. From 1435 to 1453 the convent was occupied by Augustinians. In 1785 the convent was transformed into a conservatory by Grand Duke Peter Leopold and it passed to the Mantellate Servite sisters. This order were named for their habit - a black gown or cloak secured by a leather girdle with a white veil. The gown had short sleeves to facilitate work and so people called them Mantellate, because it looked like a cloak (mantello). The conservatory continued functioning as a school until 1999. The nuns' gallery still exists and contains relics of the Blessed Charito.

Miracle-working images
This monastery was famous for a miraculous crucifix. In 1462 Suor Alessandra Bartolini lay in bed, paralysed down one side, and heard a voice say that she had a powerful doctor. She replied that doctors had done her no good during the past four years of her illness, to which the voice replied that it was speaking of the Crucifix. It instructed her to get the abbess to put an image of her infirm body before the crucifix and get the nuns to pray which, of course, did the trick. Lorenzo the Magnificent also credited this crucifix with his surviving the daggers of the Pazzi conspiracy of Easter 1470 and placed a life-size wax effigy in front of the image. Maria Maddalena of Austria, wife of Cosimo II, attributed her fertility to it too too. It is now in the convent of San Domenico in Querceto.

Art highlights
Over the high altar in the church is an Assumption of the Virgin, attributed to Giovanni Stradano.

A gallery in a room overlooking the rear garden contains paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries. These include The Martyrdom of St. Catherine of Alexandria by Jacopo Ligozzi , Three Archangels by Fabrizio Boschi , A Madonna and Child with Saints by Francesco Curradi, The Death of St. Joseph by Anton Domenico Gabbiani and an Adoration of the Magi by Luca Giordano.

Lost art
The Chiarito Tabernacle (see photo right) was painted for this church by Pacino di Bonaguida in the 1340s. The central panel is made in gilded gesso relief, a technique hardly ever used for large-scale scenes. It shows The Communion of the Twelve Apostles, an unusual subject, showing the apostles drinking Christ's blood through straws from his navel. A gold rivulet of Christ's blood also flows down to the host being consumed by the Blessed Chiarito in the central one of the three scenes that feature him at the base - he is thereby shown as directly receiving the Eucharist along with the Apostles. In the left-hand panel Chiarito kneels behind a priest from which sheaves of wheat miraculously
issue. This significant event is also represented in the order's symbol of a wheat-filled chalice, which is found as a low-relief stone roundel on the façade. The right-hand scene features an unexplainable dragon. The Tabernacle is thought to have been painted for the nuns' choir here, and is now in the J.Paul Getty Museum.


 

 




From the 16th Century Buonsignori Map the Convento di
Chiarito is in the bottom left hand corner, opposite San Clemente.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






















 

Ognissanti
Borgo Ognissanti


this church now has its own page
 

Sacro Cuore al Romito

 

Saint James Episcopal
via Bernardo Rucellai 9


History

The name refers to the hamlet of Romito (Hermitage) named after a small oratory, dedicated to St Lucy and built beneath the arches of a nearby Roman aqueduct. The remains of this oratory could still be seen in the 19th century.

The mortuary previously sited by San Giuseppino  moved here in 1893.

The present church was designed by engineer Ezio Zalaffi in 1925, and became a parish church is 1929. It was damaged during WWII, and rebuilt in 1947 by another engineer, Galliano Boldrini. The portico was added in 1951 and the church consecrated in 1954.



 
 
History

Also known as "the American Church". American Episcopalians in Florence held their first meetings in private homes and the British Embassy in 1846. When the Grand Duke of Tuscany was exiled in 1849, legislation was passed allowing  non-Roman Catholic denominations. The first Episcopal services were hosted in 1853 in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine and the congregation of St. James was officially recognized in 1867. Construction of this church began on 23rd April 1908 and took three years, with the first service held on November 8, 1911. The architect was Riccardo Mazzanti, who was also responsible for the Palazzo Cesaroni on the corner of Via della Scala. A major financial contributor was Pierpont Morgan, but his $ 10,000 came with strings. After looking at the architect’s drawings he declared the building inadequate and employed two architects of his own - G. Marchi & R. Garrere - to make more elaborate plans. When these were agreed on he paid up.  The church is English neo-gothic in style, with some fine stained glass. The large circular window in the façade Christ's entry into Jerusalem, was designed by Ezio Giovannozzi (1911).The church was closed during World War II but was not heavily damaged and reopened in 1947.

The church has a website, but it doesn't provide much history, possibly because it sells a book of the history of the church, for $40.

Opening times
For services or by arrangement in the morning.
 

San Barnaba
via Guelfa


History
This church was built to celebrate a victory by the Florentine Guelphs over a Ghibelline (pro-Holy Roman Empire) army from Arezzo in the Battle of Campaldino on 11 June 1289, which is the feast day of St Barnabus. Building began in 1322, financed by the Capitolo di San Lorenzo and then from 1335 by the Republic itself under the control of the Guild of Doctors and Apothecaries. The original late gothic church has since undergone much work, the interior being remodelled in 1700. The Baroque presbytery and main altar are by Alessandro and Gaetano Gori.
Interior contains a Baroque organ above a nuns' gallery. Now used by the local Filipino community, the church is open occasionally, sometimes for concerts.

Art highlights
Over the entrance is a Madonna and Child by Giovanni della Robbia from 1528-29, (see below left) which replaced a lost fresco. There are (14th Century?) frescoes on the left wall as you enter. Most of the art in here originated elsewhere. A painting of The Flagellation is attributed to Giovanni Maria Butteri, a pupil of Bronzino.

Lost art

Commissioned by The Guild of Doctors and Apothecaries, Botticelli's Madonna and Child with Five Saints (the San Barnaba altarpiece, see right) of 1485/87 now hangs in the Uffizi. As do four of the original seven panels from its predella, including St Augustine and the Child with the Spoon.

Also a small frescoed Crucifix that Fra Angelico painted in the convent, which was rediscovered during rebuilding and moved to the first altar on the right on May 18, 1719.

 

San Clemente
via San Gallo

 

San Francesco dei Vanchetoni
via Pallazzuolo 17


History
This small convent and church was restored in 1589 by Portia de'Medici, when it was occupied by the nuns from the order of the Misericordia. The fine stucco work on the ceiling of the church dates from this time. Suppressed in 1808 and now used as part of a military hospital.


 











From the 16th Century Buonsignori Map
. San Clemente is centre bottom, opposite the Chiarito.
 

 


History

This Oratory of the Vanchetoni was built for the Arch-confraternity of San Francesco. The society was founded by Ippolito Galantini (1565-1619), a silk weaver, for the Christian education of poor children. The members of the Company were called vanchetoni, for their habit of walking quietly (cheto being Tuscan dialect for 'humbly'), and bacchetoni, in reference to the baton that they used for penitential self-scourging.

The building was designed by Matteo and Giovanni Nigetti in 1602-1604 (Matteo, responsible for the vestibule and façade, having also been involved in designs for San Gaetano below) and built on land which was once the orchard of the Church of Ognissanti, that church being almost directly behind this one. It was frescoed, between 1633-1649, with saints (including the Blessed Ippolito Galentini) by Giovanni Martinelli, Domenico Pugliani, Baldassare Franceschini il Volterrano, Cecco Bravo and Lorenzo Lippi. Today, the oratory is used for chamber-music  concerts, plays and meetings. The sacristy has inlaid cupboards

Two small busts of children inside, said to be representations of Jesus and John the Baptist, have formerly been ascribed to Donatello, but lately to Desiderio or Rossellino.
 

San Gaetano
Santi Michele e Gaetano
Piazza Antinori


History
This Baroque church was built between 1604 and 1649 on the site of the 11th Century Romanesque church of San Michele Berteldi for the Theatine order. Amongst the families providing funding were the Medici - Cardinal Carlo de' Medici particularly, his name being on the façade. Renamed to San Gaetano (Saint Cajetan) in honour of Gaetano Thiene one of the founders of the Theatine order (and also the founder of the Ospedale degli Incurabili in Venice in 1522), but officially only after his canonisation in 1671. Built to plans probably prepared by Don Anselmo Canigiani and Don Giovanni de' Medici, initially by Matteo Nigreti, who got the transept and choir finished by 1630. Then the nave was enlarged and the façade redesigned by Gherardo Silvani in 1648. Consecrated in an unfinished state on 29th August 1649. In 2008 the church passed to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

The church
The façade is made of of pietra forte, with ornamental detail by Alessandro Neri Malavisti. The statues in lower part date from 1686-1690 and are: San Gaetano Thiene over the left door, Hope and Poverty (seated either side of the arms of the Theatine order) over the central door - all by Balthasar Permoser, and Sant'Andrea Averlino over the right door, which is by Anton Francesco  Andreozzi. The Medici arms and two angels over the central circular window are by Carlo Mencellini in 1692. He also enlarged the staircase in 1701.

Interior
The interior is restrained baroque with stucco mostly by Giovanni Battista Foggini. The second chapel on the left, the Cappella Franceschi, has a large Martyrdom of St. Lawrence of 1653 by Pietro da Cortona.  The church now has framed printed guides in Italian to the art in each chapel, which helps identify Matteo Rosselli as being responsible for the better works here, including the altarpieces in the chapels either side of the apse, amongst some otherwise pretty nondescript 17th Century stuff..

The door to the left leads to the Antinori Oratory with three rare Romanesque reliefs from the 12th Century - St Michael and two saints - from the original church of San Michele Berteldi.

Miracle-working images
Also in the Antinori Oratory is a Madonna which was on the exterior of the original church, facing a bathhouse. This image was said to have closed its eyes in 1506 in disgust at the sinful activities of the bathhouse and this miracle lead to its becoming a place of veneration, despite the fact that many women would not come there due to its position opposite said bathhouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



From the 16th Century Buonsignori Map,
the original church of San Michele Berteldi.


 
























 

San Giovanni di Dio
Borgo Ognissanti




History

The attached hospital was founded in 1382 by Simone Vespucci,  passing in 1587 to the friars of San Giovanni di Dio. The complex was enlarged in Mannerist style from 1702-13 to designs, provided free of charge, by Carlo Marcellini. The church was built at this time too, also to designs by Marcellini. The interior is rectangular with four side altars and reportedly unspecial.

In contrast the sweeping stairs of the Spedale vestibule next door (see photo right) are splendid. The marble group on the landing is San Giovanni di Dio with Archangel Gabriel and a Poor Man Kneeling by Ticciati. The paintings and ceiling are by Vincenzo Meucci and Rinaldo Botti; the two fresco medallions are by Violante Ferroni.

The hospital closed in 1982.












 

San Giovannino dei Cavalieri
via San Gallo 66


History
Founded here in 1323 as an oratory, the original church belonged to the Celestine monks, followers of San Pietro da Morrone, from 1327. In 1552 the Hospitaller nuns of St John of Jerusalem were installed here by Cosimo I and the Celestine monks were moved to San Michele Visdomini. During the 14th Century the complex had housed "women of easy virtue" and was dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene. The nuns of the Knights of Malta (Cavilieri) re-dedicated the church to Saint Nicholas of Bari, even though it is usually known as the church of Saint John the Baptist (or Saint John the Beheaded) the order's patron saint. Rebuilt by the nuns and reconsecrated in April 1553 with the façade added in 1699. Suppressed in 1808 by Grand Duke Leopold, the church transferred to parish use in 1939 when architect Ezio Cerpi undertook restoration, with a view to returning it to its 16th Century appearance.

Interior
It has an oddly huge entrance hall, with the original large cupboards, and inside a very tall nave with low aisles and plain square pillars dividing. The first altar on the left has a poorly-illuminated Nativity by Bicci di Lorenzo, the father of Neri di Bicci, with too many angels (50!) The central altar on the left is very high-altarishly ornate. Above it is a Last Supper by Palma il Giovani, which is not bad, for him. Opposite it is a 19th Century Della Robbia copy.


 

At the end of the aisles either side of the apse are two very worth-a-trip altarpieces - a Coronation of the Virgin by Neri di Bicci on the left (see above), with a fine and fascinating predella with saints at either end and panels of The Beheading of St John the Baptist, The Resurrection and a scene from the life of Nicholas of Bari. This altarpiece also contains a (relatively rare) fictive painted tabernacle. On the right is a sweet and architectural Annunciation by the Master of the Castello Nativity. Both these works, along with the Crucifixion of Lorenzo Monaco, date from the original 14th Century church of the Celestines.

The apse itself is architecturally frescoed (by Alessandro Gherardini in 1703) surrounding an earlier painted Crucifixion by Lorenzo Monaco. Also a very damaged fresco of St Michael Archangel by Francesco Granacci in the right aisle. The wooden crucifix in the right aisle is said to have been carved using wood from the tree which miraculously sprang to life in the middle of winter when brushed by the coffin bearing the body of Saint Zenobius from San Lorenzo to Santa Reparata, the original church on the site of the Duomo. A stone pillar near the Baptistry commemorates this event.

Opening times
None posted, but I've found it open in the week in mid-morning (when the light is best) and during the evening.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

San Giuliano
Via Faenza


History
The church was attached to the convent of San Giuliano, founded in the 14th Century by Bartolo Benvenuti (who is buried here), consecrated in 1585 and suppressed in 1808. The convent is currently home to the Congregazione delle Figlie Povere di San Giuseppe Calasanzio, founded in 1889 by Mother Celestina Donati.

Interior
The church is lit by just three windows high up in the façade, which shine through an odd filet of a room between the facade and the inner facade, so the aisleless space, with three arched recesses on each side, is pretty dimly lit. There are three nuns' grills high up on the left side, where the convent was, I presume, and an organ gallery on that side of the apse. The interior is very undecorated, apart from a grisaille panel of The Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the flat and coffered ceiling (see photo right) and portraits of Christ and some saints in the spandrels of the dome over the apse. Two elderly black-clad nuns sitting in pews and the sounds of catering coming from a door on the left suggest a still-functioning convent.



 

San Giuseppe
oratory

 

San Giuseppino
San Giuseppe




History

The Oratory of San Giuseppe, built in 1646, was part of the convent of the Montalve, the Handmaids of the Most Holy Virgin. Upon suppression in 1780 the Montalve moved to Sant'Agata in Via San Gallo, then to San Jacopo in Via della Scala, and finally to the Villa alia Quiete in Via di Boldrone.
 


History
Built on the site of the chapel, built in 1784, of the mortuary run by Capuchin monks. Expanded into a church 1860-67 under the guidance of a project engineer by the name of Gatteschi, consecration taking place on 6th February 1870. 

The mortuary moved to the church of
Sacro Cuore al Romito (see above) in 1893. The church passed to the Irish nuns of the Institute of Santa Reparata after WW1 becoming popular with Florence's English-speaking community. Since 1947 the complex has been occupied by the Missionari Vincenziani from San Jacopo sopr'Arno.

Built in a gothic style, there is a relief over the door of The Pietà by Louis Cartei, over a strip of the carved symbols of the city's districts (see photo below). Over the altar is a statue of The Immaculate Conception by Emilio Santarelli, who is also responsible for the flanking angels.















 

   

San Jacopino


 

 






History
The original church, called San Jacopo in Polverosa, stood in the piazza of the same name, nearby on the Via Cassia, in the 13th Century. The Salvi di Benincasa were its patrons, and they gave it to the convent of Santa Maria Novella, who kept it until the 18th Century. It was called San Jacopino to distinguish it from (3) other churches in Florence called San Jacopo and became a parish church in 1781. At this time the church contained a much-venerated Crucifixion with the Virgin and St John , taken from the demolished church of San Pier Maggiore. As the local population grew a larger church was needed, and built by architect Severino Crott in 1931, and consecrated in 1936. The original church was bombed in 1944 and later demolished.

San Jacopo di Ripoli
via della Scala


History
This church was part of a convent established by Dominicans from Pian di Ripoli from 1292. In 1476 two Dominican friars (and not Bernardo Cennini as the board outside the church claims) set up only the second printing press in Florence here which, with nuns working as compositors, was also the first documented instance of women employed in printing. The press was in operation until 1484, their last imprint being the first complete printed edition of the works of Plato.

The complex was rebuilt in the late sixteenth century. When the nuns moved to San Pietro in Monticelli in 1784 the buildings were altered again by Giuseppe Salvetti. The convent was suppressed in 1794 and given to the Congregation of the Montalve, who remained until 1886 when they moved to the Villa La Quiete taking all the works of art belonging to their predecessors with them. All that remains is the lunette of glazed terracotta on the (otherwise undecorated) façade of the Madonna and Child with SS James and Domenic of 1522 by Giovanni(?) della Robbia. The complex is now used as a barracks and an albergo militare (a military hotel). The latter includes a large cloister, enlarged after 1550. It has recently been reported (Spring 2012) that the church is to be renovated in the coming years.

Interior
The church consists of a single aisle with two side altars facing each other, both sponsored by the Antinori family. These contained a pair of altarpieces by Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio and tin-glazed terracotta lunettes by the Della Robbia workshop. One of the altarpieces and both the lunettes are conserved at the Villa La Quiete outside Florence. As is an early crucifix once thought to be by Cimabue. The second altarpiece, depicting The Coronation of the Virgin (see right), is now in the Petit Palais Museum in Avignon.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Jacopo in Campo Carbolini


History
Originally consecrated on May 3rd 1206, the church belonged to the order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, and from 1256 to the Knights Templar, later passing to the Knights of Malta. Building progressed through the 13th Century, with a small military hospital added in 1311.

The Gothic portico is unusual, if not unique, in Florence, with the column capitals featuring carvings of the emblem of the Knights of Malta. The church was restored in the 17th Century after falling into a poor state, when the large emblem featuring the cross of Malta was added. A convent was attached in the 18th Century. Suppressed by Napoleon in 1808.

The church is now owned, along with the adjacent complex, by the Scuola Lorenzo de' Medici, who have been responsible for recent restoration work and who use the church itself for conferences and receptions. It is also occasionally used for exhibitions.

The interior
Consists of a single nave, relatively unspoilt, with an altarpiece depicting the Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine sometimes attributed to Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio. Also the impressive 16th Century tomb of Luigi Tornabuoni, nicknamed the Lion of Florence carved by Pierre de Aubisson


 

























 

San Lorenzo


this church now has its own page
 

San Martino della Scala
via della Scala


History
In 1316 a Florentine carpenter called Cione di Lapo Pollini established Santa Maria della Scala, a hospital for the shelter of pilgrims and travellers. The silk guild of Por Santa Maria took over in 1351, by which time the hospital had also taken on the care of  orphans. It was named for the Sienese hospital of the same name, with which it was linked. A loggia was added in the 14th Century, the columns of which can still be seen on the exterior walls, together with the remains of the turning box on which abandoned infants were left, similar to the one at the Innocenti. In 1531, the hospital was suppressed and merged with the Innocenti.

The church and convent were rebuilt in the 17th Century when it was granted to the nuns of San Martino dalle Panche whose convent, near the Mugnone, had been destroyed during the siege. The interior acquired its current florid stucco work at this time, the work of Giovanni Martino Portogalli. The complex, which was henceforth known as the Monastero di San Martino a Mugnone, was occupied by the nuns until 1808, when the convent was suppressed. Since 1873 it has 'inconveniently', as one art historian put it, housed an institution for juvenile offenders. It now houses the Gian Paolo Meucci Penal Institute for Minors.



Art highlights
Reportedly an altarpiece of The Virgin and Child enthroned between S. Sebastian and S. Martin  by Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio. Also a Virgin and Child with SS Julian and Sebastian (on first altar on the right) by the same artist, transferred here from San Pier Scheraggio in the early 19th Century. It was described as being in a poor state in 1993. On a recent visit to Florence (April 2015) there was an enormous crane and considerable rebuilding going on.

Lost art
Botticelli's Annunciation fresco of 1481, now in the Uffizi, was taken from the church loggia here. It has recently had much
restoration work done on it and is now properly displayed following the Botticelli room's recent (early 2017) rehang. (See before and after photos, right).

 

San Paolino
via Palazzuolo


History

This was originally a smaller church, hence the diminutive name, said by a plaque in the church to have been founded in 335 and consecrated in 404. The first recorded mention dates to 1094, when the priest here is mentioned as having attended the consecration of Santa Maria Novella. Granted to the Dominicans in the 1217, who stayed here until 1221 (when they moved to Santa Maria Novella) then to the Observant Friars Minor and in 1619 to the Carmelites who rebuilt much larger in 1669, to designs by Giovanni Battista Balatri, the work being completed in 1693. Entrance gallery built in 1779 to designs by Gioacchino Pronti from Rimini, who was then working on Santa Maria del Carmine after its fire and the façade of San Marco. It supports an organ by the Tronci brothers. Suppressed in 1810 and then in 1866 restored to the Carmelites who are still here. Subjected to considerable restoration work in the 1970s.

Interior
A plain and nicely-proportioned interior with pale green-tinged walls. Two pairs of connected chapels in the nave and two more large altars in the shallow transepts. Also a lot of balconies, for some reason. The first  chapel on the right as you enter is the most striking, with its pair of facing (Albizi family) tombs with emerging (carved) skeletons (see photo right). There is a wood-panelled sacristy with paintings from the 18th Century.

Art highlights
The second chapel in right nave contains the recently rediscovered Annunciation with Saints Peter and Paul by Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, previously attributed to 'a follower of Sogliani'. Much 18th Century art by the likes of Meucci, Ferretti, Curradi and Gherardini.

Lost art
Local boy Botticelli's serious and impressive Lamentation (see below) is now in the Alte Pinakotek in Munich.

Notable locals
Scholar and poet Poliziano (to be seen in frescos by Ghirlandaio in the two nearby churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Trìnita) was made the prior here in 1477. A post he held until 1486, when he was appointed a canon of Santa Maria del Fiore.

The church in literature
The church is mentioned in the 14th Century Cronica (Chronicles) of Giovanni Villani, and Boccaccio describes San Paolino as a church where the poor were buried in the seventh novel of the fourth day of The Decameron.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sant'Agata
via San Gallo 110



History

A convent that's passed through various orders. From 1211 to 1286 it belonged to the nuns of St. Agatha, then the Camaldolese nuns of Bibbiena who were refugees from the Casentino after the battle of Campaldino (1289 ). In 1780 nuns of the Order of the Montalve moved here from San Giuseppe. In the nineteenth century, after the Napoleonic suppression of religious orders, the complex was converted to use as a military hospital. The church, rebuilt by 1569, is now (still?) used as a military hospital chapel.

Interior
It supposedly contains The Wedding at Cana, a high altarpiece commissioned by Lorenzo Pucci from Allori who was also responsible for the façade, also built for Pucci in 1592, but I can find no trace of such a painting by Allori. The frescoes of The Martyrdom of St. Agatha and Her Burial are by Giovanni Bizzelli, a pupil of Allori. Also said to contain paintings by Lorenzo di Credi, Lorenzo Lippi and Neri di Bicci. Or to once have.

Lost art

Giovanni Bizzelli's Madonna in Glory with Saints (see right) is in the Andrea del Sarto Cenacolo Museum at San Salvi.

 

Sant'Apollonia


History

A Benedictine convent was founded here in 1339 by Piero di Ser Mino. Major rebuilding in the 15th Century resulted in the building of the refectory and the commission for the painting of The Last Supper by Andrea del Castagno in 1447. The design of the church's door to via San Gallo has been convincingly attributed to Michelangelo, who Vasari said had a niece who was a nun here, but this is not true, it seems. This door dates to reconstruction work between 1526 and 1529 financed by the convent's governor Giuliano di Ranieri da Ricasoli, a canon of the duomo. The church was suppressed and deconsecrated in 1808 and is now used as a conference hall. The space inside is divided into three aisles, with frescoes by Bernardino Poccetti supposedly still in place. The complex was used as a military storehouse after 1864 and is now used by the university, Regione Toscana and the army.

Lost art
An altarpiece painted for the church by Francesco Granacci, and installed in 1530, following the rebuilding work of 1526-9, was disassembled before 1759 and divided up after the church's suppression. The ten surviving predella panels, of scenes from the Legend of St Apolllonia, are in the Accademia and the four standing saints (including Apollonia herself, see right) are now in Munich. A small Annunciation panel is in Corsham Court in Wiltshire. The altarpiece was designed, according to Vasari, for Granacci by Michelangelo.


The
Cenacolo
Upon suppression the fresco in the refectory was discovered under a layer of plaster, it having been previously unknown (even to Vasari and Richa) due to the order's seclusion. It was initially thought to be the work of Paolo Uccello but the attribution to Andrea by Crowe and Cavalcaselle is now universally accepted. The refectory was opened to the public in 1891. Removal for conservation work in 1953 revealed the sinopie.

This Last Supper by Andrea del Castagno is the one with the jazzy faux-marble panels and the very sculptural figures with expressive hands and feet. Also note the unusual sphinxes at each end. This was the third refectory to be opened as a museum, after San Salvi and the Fuligno, this time dedicated to Andrea and his school.

There are also three damaged frescos above of the Crucifixion (centre), Deposition (right) and Resurrection (left). It has been observed that Jesus gets younger as the story progresses.  Their sinopie (underdrawings), found during preservation work in 1953, have been installed on the facing wall. Below these are some unfascinating decorative panels from the the tragically lost fresco cycle painted for the church of Sant'Egidio by Andrea, along with Alessio Baldovinetti and Domenico Veneziano (with Piero della Francesca as his assistant). There is also a sinopia from this work by Domenico Veneziano of a nude woman with perspective lines. There's also a Crucifixion with Saints fresco by Andrea, taken from the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli and a frescoed lunette of the Pieta with Angels from the monastery here.

The entrance hall and antechamber house other works. The entrance hall has a painting of an abbess from another convent, an 18th Century Crucifix once in the church here, and a lunette-shaped fresco rescued from an outside doorway here. The antechamber has works from the monastery. There are two altarpieces by Neri di Bicci, a Madonna and Child with Saints and a Coronation of the Virgin, both once in the church here, and two detached frescoes by Paolo Schiavo, a Pieta with Angels and a Crucifixion. Also an elaborately framed painting of The Trinity from around 1460, recently cleaned.

Opening times
The church (in via San Gallo) is closed to the public, and looks to be an empty shell anyway, now used for conferences.

The Cenacolo is open daily 8.15-13.50
Closed on the 2nd and 4th Monday and 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday of each month,
New Year’s Day, May 1st and Christmas Day

Bibliography
A useful little bilingual guidebook to the cenacolo is available from Firenze Musei.
 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







 


 

Sant'Onofrio di Fuligno
via Faenza


History

Named for the obscure saint Honofrius and called di Fuligno after the Franciscan nuns from Foligno who lived here from 1419. The complex had originally, from 1316, been occupied by Augustinian sisters. Rebuilt and consecrated in 1429. Suppressed in the 19th Century, the remaining Franciscans being moved to Sant'Ambrogio, with the complex then used as a girls' school, to prevent them having to resort to begging, 'a violation to common decency'. The refectory was sold separately, though, being used for the manufacture of silk and the painting of carriages. The discovery of the Last Supper fresco there in 1843 began the process of repair leading to it being opened to the public. It housed the Egyptian Museum for a while, and then the Feroni collection of pictures. Closure from the Second World War through to the flood of 1966 led to the rooms being used to store flood-damaged works, until their reopening in 1990.

The Cenacolo
The Cenacolo (Last Supper) fresco is to be found in the refectory, through the open doors in the old convent building to the right of the church. This lunette-shaped fresco is by Pietro Perugino, but was previously thought to have been an early work by Raphael (hence the bust of him on display here), this attribution having been based on a half-deciphered inscription on the robe of St Thomas, and there's still some argument over whether it might have had more than its share of  input from Perugino's pupils, of which there were many, including Pinturicchio. It was painted 1480-85 and the scene of  The Agony in the Garden seen in the background is the following scene in Christ's Passion and also reflects the fresco of 1462 by Neri di Bicci which this work replaced, presumably as the Neri fresco was thought to have become old fashioned. (Confusingly when this Last Supper was thought to be by Raphael counter claims attributed it to Neri di Bicci, presumably because of the existence of documents relating to the previous fresco.) The fictive stone framing has small roundels containing portraits of Franciscan saints. The two rows of six columns which frame the Agony are said to relate to the Apostles having been described as the pillars of Christianity. There are 33 cenacoli in the refectories of central Florence, and this is one of the best.

There are other works on display too, including Perugino's, fine Crucifix with the Virgin and Saints from the demolished church and convent of San Girolamo delle Poverine. Several by Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, including a Raphaelesque Madonna and Child which was originally in the convent of the Murate. A Mystic Marriage of St Catherine by Antonio del Ceraiolo, a pupil of Ridolfo Ghirlandaio and then Lorenzo di Credi, which was originally in the church of Santa Lucia. (Also one in Bombeni chapel in S.Trinita?) The Assumption of the Virgin by Valerio Marucelli, in the entrance antechamber, was  originally over the high altar in the church here.


There's also a few works by Lorenzo di Credi, including very nice bits of an altarpiece from the convent of San Gaggio and a portrait of a youth. This portrait was stolen by German soldiers in 1944 and revovered in 1963. There are those who think that it's a self portrait, and those who don't.

My faves here, though, are six altarpiece panels by Antonio Rimpatta (see right). I'd never heard of him either, but his faces are winningly serene but still very human. The Mormile Polyptych they are taken from, originally in Milan, was illegally dismembered, sold and exported. Later these parts were recovered, minus the frame and, it is thought, some panels.

Also detached frescoes by Bicci di Lorenzo.

A tabernacle of The Madonna and Child with Saints by Giovanni da San Giovanni, formerly on the wall of the suppressed convent of Sant'Antonio in Via Cennini, has been set up beside the entrance.

Opening times
The Cenacolo is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 9.00 - 13.00

Bibliography
A useful little bilingual guidebook to the cenacolo is available from Firenze Musei.
 

   

 

Sant'Orsola


History
A convent founded in 1309 as a satellite of San Lorenzo. The building was completed in 1327 and settled by Benedictine nuns until 1435 when it was taken over by Franciscans.  There were two churches within the complex. Suppressed at the beginning of the nineteenth century and by 1810, after renovations by architect Bartolomeo Silvestri, it had became a tobacco factory.
The building later housed a centre for the care for the evicted and then classrooms and offices of the University of Florence. In the 1980s it was bought by the State in order to create a barracks for the Guardia di Finanza. Work began in 1985 but was later abandoned. The complex was left enclosed in a cage of scaffolding and sheeting and became something of a hostage to bureaucracy. Meanwhile the surrounding area suffered from squalor, crime and drug dealing. In 2004 the Region of Tuscany signed an agreement for Sant'Orsola to become an extension to the Central Market and the headquarters of the District Directorate of Customs of Florence. But since then all that's happened is the scaffolding was taken off, in 2007.
This same year saw research published suggesting that in 1542 Lisa Gherardini, the most likely subject of Leonardo's Mona Lisa, was buried in the convent of Sant'Orsola, where she had spent the last years of her life, following the death of her husband. The gutting of the building in 1985 would have removed any traces of tombs or bodies, but the architect from the time says that there was nothing but 'devastation' within the shell of the building by that time anyway. This hasn't stopped excavations beneath the concrete laid in the 1980s and two bodies, in 2011 and 2012, being found and claims being made that they were the bones of Mona Lisa. Both of them were found not to be. The most recent admission of failure by the somewhat publicity-led team being in September 2012. A film about the digging is here.
In recent years plans to turn the building into, you guessed it, an arts centre have been announced. The building has also had to suffer various edgy art installations.

Lost art
A panel of The Arrival of Saint Ursula at Cologne from an altarpiece by Bernardo Daddi (see right) is in the Getty Museum.

Update August 2017 
The latest proposed project includes the creation of the Monna (sic) Lisa Museum, the Bocelli Academy Music School, a game room, a wine loft and music stage, a Creativity School, an incubator and a parking garage. The work is predicted to take six years, which gives us about enough time to figure what most of those resources actually are.
 

Santa Caterina
Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore


History

Founded by Augustinian nuns in 1310 and belonging to the Canons of the Duomo. The monastery, located to the right of the church, was enlarged during the next two centuries. The wheel, the symbol of Saint Catherine's martyrdom can still be seen on many nearby houses. In the 16th century the sisters were moved and the monastery passed through various orders, including the Franciscans. In 1615 it became a home for abandoned girls, then with secularisation under Peter Leopold in 1778 it became a school for 'poor spinsters' and later a salt and tobacco warehouse.

Following a plan by Gaetano Baccani failing due to financial difficulties, and the fact that his single nave church was deemed too small, the church was rebuilt in current neoclassical style by Giuseppi Martelli from 1858. The façade remains unfinished, though. and very odd looking - the plan was for a triple-arched loggia. The church was opened on 31st December 1863.

Interior
An oddly monumental interior with eight pietra serena columns (recycled from the Baccani plan) dividing a wide barrel-vaulted nave from its diminutive aisles. A rich decorative scheme was planned but never carried out.
 

Santa Lucia sul Prato


History
Called Saint Lucia sul Prato for the expanse of grass that fronted it, the chapel here was granted to the Umiliati order in 1251 by the bishop of Florence, Giovanni de’ Mangiadori, because, as with the monastery of Ognissanti nearby, the order needed proximity to the Arno for wool-working purposes. They sold the church to Cosimo I for 840 scudi and so in 1547 it passed to Augustinians from San Donato a Scopeto by the Porta Romana (called the Scopetini), who had had their convent destroyed for defensive purposes during the siege of Florence in 1529-30. This order spent the years following their acquisition restoring the church. Following their move to San Jacopo sopr'Arno the complex was taken over by the fathers of San Vincenzo de 'Paoli in 1703, and in 1720 it was entrusted to secular clergy. Its current  neoclassical appearance results from subsequent rebuilding between 1838 and 1885. This work gave us the façade by John Mannaioni, the ceiling painting and the bas reliefs in the apse. The flood of 1966 resulted in the loss of baroque side altars, the marble balustrade between the apse and the knave, and the original floor.

To the left of the church was the house of the Company of the Blessed Sacrament, where silk weaver Ippolito Galantini (1565-1619) first began to instruct children in Christian doctrine, before founding the confraternity of the Vanchetoni in San Francesco dei Vanchetoni (see entry above). He is depicted in a fresco behind the high altar here.

Interior
It's aisleless, compact and squarish inside, pale with some quite chunky pietra serena detailing. Three arches along each side, both sides consisting of a pair of recesses with a chapel at the apse end.

The facing pair of recesses nearest the door each contain a damaged fresco fragment. The one on the left is a fine and unusually relaxed annunciation (see right). It's late 14th Century and is said to have been inspired by the famous miracle-working fresco at SS Annunziata, with some theorising that it might even predate the one at SS. Annunziata. Previously unascribed it has, following restoration in 2013, now been ascribed to Nardo di Cione.

The recess on the right contains the bottom half of an even more damaged fresco of The Baptism of Christ (see photo below right), painted by Angelo La Naia in the 1950. This recess contained the baptismal font until a new font was installed in the left aisle in memory of a young man of the parish executed by the fascists for refusing to enlist. The fresco was covered over at this time until a few years ago when the damp caused the cardboard covering to warp and come away. Now proper restoration is being considered.

 The middle recess on the right contains a fresco from 1984 by Luciano Guarnieri, a pupil of Annigoni, depicting The Crucifixion. Some of the figures are portraits of locals, including a nearby butcher; and one of them (the man in the brown jacket at the foot of the cross) is Giuseppe Prezzolini, the writer and journalist.

There's also a square painting here by a previously unidentified, said to be Northern, artist of The Adoration of the Shepherds. He was known as the Master of Santa Lucia sul Prato and it was said that he may have been attached to Ghirlandaio's workshop. After recent cleaning for an exhibition, however, a name has been given to its painter: Alexander Formoser, a painter sent to Florence by the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus, to learn the Florentine way with art. The painting certainly shows the influence of Ghirlandaio's version of the same subject in Santa Trinita.

The square apse has long carved relief panels on the sides in plaster by Salvatore Bongiovanni, depicting Moses quenching the Jewish people and Moses saving the Jewish people from snakes. There's a painting of the crucifixion on the wall behind, but with the actual crucifix is carved and is from the Company of S. Benedetto Bianco and dates to the 16th century. Flanking this on the back wall are saints with children - Santa Lucia and Sant'Ippolitto Galanti, painted in the 1950s by Angelo La Naia and now pretty grubby. There's an organ gallery (and organ) on the inner facade and a murky circular ceiling painting. Patterned stained glass windows over each side arch help the light and calm and Brunelleschi-type cube effect.

The ceiling painting is S. Lucia Brought to Heaven by Angels, painted by Paolo Sarti between 1831 and 1838.

The lost Bianchi crucifix
A crucifix kept in the Cappella di S. Benedetto on the left-hand side of the church, which was (and still is) used for meetings and film shows, was consigned to storage around 1920 and forgotten. It was found in 2010 and was found to be, behind it's more modern front, an original Bianchi cross carried in their processions and mentioned by many sources, including Richa. When it was given to the church two members of the group donating the crucifix were said to have had their sight miraculously restored after having been blind for some time, Santa Lucia being the saint who protects eyesight. It turned out that when it was put in the chapel a second larger wooden cross was applied and attached with iron latches. An invoice from around 1710, for making the larger cross and the latches, was found, so proving the pre-existence of the crucifix before 1710. It has been restored and was returned to the church in June 2013. There's a video news report here. It is planned that it will be installed in the church in November 2014.

Opening times
9.00 to 12.00,  5.00 to 6.30 (Mass at 6.00)
Sundays 8.30 to 1.00 (Masses at 9.00, 10.30, 12.00)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Santa Maria Novella


this church now has its own page
 

Santa Trìnita


this church now has its own page
 

Santi Jacopo e Filippo
via della Scala


History

This oratory was part of a hospital founded in 1337 and known as dei Barelloni because the brethren carried the sick and dying on stretchers (barelle) rather than in the cloth hammocks (gerle) favoured by the Misericordia. From 1589 the hospital gave shelter to 'honest but poor girls'. It was later turned into a convent for the Monache della Carità (Nuns of Charity). In 1626 it was enlarged and the church, dedicated to the Santissima Concezione, was rebuilt by Matteo Nigetti. Cosimo Ulivelli painted a ten-part fresco cycle illustrating the "Works of Mercy". After the convent was suppressed in 1808, it was incorporated into the Palazzo Grassi, now a hotel. In 1985 the church was made the Tuscan headquarters of the Knights of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.


 

Chiostro dello Scalzo


History
The Scalzo were a disciplinati  (flagellant) confraternity, named for the bare feet of the cross-bearer in their public processions. The company was founded in 1376 and based in the church of San Jacopo in Campo Carbolini. As early as 1390 they were using the church of San Giovannino dei Cavalieri in via San Gallo, one street to the west of the Chiostro. Having purchased land behind this church in the early 15th Century they built a chapel (which was consecrated in 1476 but then totally rebuilt) as well as the cloister, originally designed by Giuliano da Sangallo, and the entrance (1478) we see today.

The false-stone facade's doorway is surmounted by a glazed terracotta lunette (see above) said to be by Giovanni della Robbia, depicting John the Baptist and two darkly robed and hooded members of the confraternity, with whips. The doorway leads to the entrance hall and cloister, the only two rooms of the late 15th Century construction which remain. A member of the confraternity, an architect called Alfonso Parigi the Elder drew a map of the rooms (see below right). The ingresso (entrance hall) and cloister are at the bottom. A walled-up doorway at the end of the cloister once led to an office/changing room and beyond this was the oratory, which is now a post office.
 
The cloister
Andrea del Sarto, who was a member of Lo Scalzo, was commissioned around 1508/9 to paint a series of frescoes in grisaille of the Life of St John the Baptist, the patron of the company. He worked on these for many years with interruptions, including 1518-19, which he spent in France and during which time Franciabigio painted two scenes (The Baptist taking leave of his Parents and The Meeting of Christ and the Baptist) before Andrea returned to finish the series in 1522-26. He moved into a house nearby at this time bought, according to Vasari, with money given to him by King François I of France to buy art for the French court, thereby burning his bridges as far as returning to France was concerned. This story, taken up by Browning in his poem Andrea del Sarto, called the Faultless Painter, is now widely though to be apocryphal.

The figure of Faith (see photo above right) is thought to be a depiction of Andrea's wife, Lucrezia del Fade, her surname translating as 'of the faith' and hence the suspicion of wordplay. Hope is on the other side of the entrance doorway. 

In 1722 the architect Pietro Giovannozzi made considerable modifications to the cloister - adding the vaulted ceiling, the pediments over the doors and the four double columns. The lunettes that were created were decorated in a style imitating that of the 16th Century by one Giovanni Panaiotti. When the company was suppressed in 1786 by Pietro Leopoldo the church was sold and gutted. The cloister was opened to the public in 1891 but, not having ever being roofed over by anything more substantial than a straw mat, the frescoes were in sore need of restoration. The frescoes were detached and restored and were reinstalled, with the cloister reopening after having been closed for many years, in 1995, with a new glass canopy.

They are monochrome and also very pale, but with some dark details and patches, especially in the corners, suggesting that they were not always so. But it has also been suggested that these panels were actually painted darker due to being in corners that would be less well lit. The narrative starts immediately to your right as you enter and proceeds anti-clockwise. The first three scenes were the last painted, and the last two on the right-hand side were those completed in Andrea's abscence.

Lost art
Amongst the paintings removed when the church was gutted are a Baptism of Christ by Lorenzo di Credi, now in the church of San Domenico in Fiesole, and God the Father now in the Palatine Gallery of the Palazzo Pitti.

Opening times
Monday, Thursday, 1st, 3rd and 5th Saturday, 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month; 8.15-13.50

Closed on the 2nd and 4th Saturday and 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday of each month, New Year’s Day, May 1st and Christmas Day.

Bibliography
A useful little bilingual guidebook to the chiostro is available from Firenze Musei.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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