San Marco, and Savonarola; Angelico's Annunciation is worth the admission alone. You can usually find somewhere in the cloisters just to sit away from the crowds. So much of Florence's history revolved around this convent. If I could visit only one place in Florence this would be it.
Cappella Brancacci: Masaccio's masterpiece.
San Miniato: beautiful small church. Don’t forget the graveyard, and then there's the view of Florence.
San Lorenzo: the old sacristy as well as Brunelleschi's brilliant interior.
Oh and Santa Maria Novella, Santa Croce, Cappelle Medici...
Museo di San Marco: Piazza San Marco; tel: +39 55 238 8608
Cappella Brancacci: Piazza del Carmine; tel: +39 055 238 21 95
San Miniato: Via Monte Alle Croci, 34; tel: 055 2342768
Basilica di San Lorenzo: Piazza San Lorenzo
A beautiful little church set on a hillside overlooking Florence. A fantastic view of the city shimmering in a heat haze. Easily reached by no.13 bus from the Duomo or on foot if you like climbing. Gregorian chants sung by monks at 5.30 every day.
Just outside Florence to the south of the city.
This beautiful little church lies on the south-east side of the city and sits on top of a fairly high hill. As such, it makes a very good place to walk to, as you’ll see a good deal en route either by cross-country footpaths or by following the roads. Once there you can admire both the exterior and interior of the 11th century church and the view of the city from the Piazzale Michelangelo before making your way back.
Via Monte alle Croci, 34 (above Piazzale Michelangelo);
tel: +39 0552342768;
After the Duomo, this is one of the most interesting of the churches as it contains the tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli among others. It was completed in 1294 and sits at the eastern end of the large square that takes its name, casting long Gothic shadows over it if you happen to be there in the morning.
Piazza di Santa Croce.
There is a lot to be said for seeing the major works of art in the churches for which they were created, especially as the queues for the major museums are horrendous. In 15th-century Florence no one covered more walls than Ghirlandaio, and his fresco cycles are well worth seeking out in Santa Maria Novella, Santa Trinita and the refectory of Ognissanti. But the most dramatic painting in a Florentine church is Pontormo's Deposition in Santa Felicita. Pontormo was stylistically in the thrall of Michelangelo but has a more agitated artistic personatlity, which reveals itself in the sheer strangeness of the colours and the forms on the canvas (this is an oil painting, although there is also a fresco of the Visitation on the adjoining wall). It's a mannerist masterpiece. Don't miss it.
The church of Santa Felicita is just south of the Ponte Vecchio. If you're walking towards the Pitta Palace, it's in a small piazza on your left. Take coins for the light meter.
Turn up early (7.30, 8, 8.30 services) and listen to mass or Lauds in the cathedral. The early light makes the stained glass glow, and when the bells start ringing the whole building seems to vibrate with thunder. A little time out before a day of busy tourism.
Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza del Duomo;
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