Church of Santo Spirito
Related Topics:

Althea Rooms: A comfortable and friendly guest house, right in the heart of Oltrarno.

Centro Machiavelli: Centre for Italian language and culture for foreigners. Practical courses in artisan workshops

Filippini e Paoletti: Byzantine Mosaic and Florentine custom jewellery.

La Scartoffia: Stationery, toys, postcards and Fax service

Poli Eugenio & C.: Artisan workshop for gilding and making of wooden frames; imitation of antique frames and objects; bespoke design and restoration.

Ristorante Ricchi: A Fresh fish only restaurant in Piazza Santo Spirito.

Roberto Ugolini: Men shoes made to measure. Artisan workshop.

Ugo Bellini - Cose preziose: Artisan Goldsmither's Workshop

Oltrarno's Fountains
Palazzo Guadagni
Refectory of Santo Spirito
Santo Spirito Square


Tourist informations
Entrance from: Piazza Santo Spirito.
Opening hours: Holydays: 8.30-12AM; 3.45-5PM; Working days: 8.30-12AM; 3.45-6PM.
Admission ticket: Free.

The church of Santo Spirito gives its name to the quarter in the middle of Oltrarno: it was conceived by Brunelleschi, studied and admired by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, called by Bernini «the most beautiful church in the world».

History - In the spotlight


The building of the church was begun in 1444 by Brunelleschi, on the same place where the Agostiniani monks had built a church in the second halfth of 13th Century; Brunelleschi realized only a model of the whole church and a portion of the apsis. After his death (1446) the building remained abandoned until 1452, when Antonio Manetti, Giovanni da Gaiole and Salvi d'Andrea completed the church following only in part the original design by Brunelleschi. Salvi d'Andrea realized the dome (1479-81) after Brunelleschi's own model.
Lorenzo il Magnifico commissioned then Giuliano da San Gallo with the building of the sacrysty: in 1489 he demolished the original gothic bell tower in order to make room for the new building. A new bell tower was realized in 1568-71 after a plan by Baccio d'Agnolo.

Click to enlarge pictures.

In 1564 Ammannati begun the big cloister, and the complex of the convent was subsequently enlarged and modified several times, following the original style of the church.
The particular façade we see today was realized in 1792 by the «bricklayer of the Monastery» Boccini, who painted on it columns and other embellishments; this decor was lost in the restoration in 1960.

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 In the spotlight

The church is characterized by the columns dividing the three naves and surrounding the high altar. The central nave has a painted ceiling from the 19th Century.
In the lateral chapels one can admire several paintings and sculptures. Among them:
Right nave: second chapel, Pietà by Giovanni di Baccio Bigio (1549) after the Pietà by Michelangelo; third chapel, San Nicola da Tolentino, wooden statue by Nanni Unghero, and two angels painted by Franciabigio; fourth chapel, altarpiece by Giovanni Stradano (Jan van der Straet) of 1572: Christ driving the merchants from the temple; the altar in the sixth chapel with the Martyrdom of St. Stephen are works by Passignano (first 17th Century);
Cross-vault: the imposant High altar is a work by Giovanni Caccini (1599-1608); the Crucifix is ascribed to Michelangelo; in the right wing (eleventh chapel) is located one of the most important works: the altarpiece by Filippino Lippi depicting Madonna with the Child and Saints (1494-98) showing the palace of the committents, the Nerli family, and the Gate of San Frediano; in the fourteenth chapel, Marble sarcophagus of Neri di Gino Capponi, ascribed to Rossellino's school (1458); in the left wing: Madonna with the Child and Saints, by Cosimo Rosselli (1482); the marble altar in the twentysecond chapel is a work by Andrea del Sansovino (around 1494), further enriched in 1642;
Apsis: in the fifteenth chapel, Holy Martyrs, painted by Alessandro Allori in 1574. In the predella (15th Century) is shown Palazzo Pitti before its façade was enlarged; in the eighteenth chapel, a Nativity from the school of Ghirlandaio;
Inside façade: it was realized after Salvi d'Andrea's plan in 1483-87. The stained glass window is after Perugino.
Left nave: in the twenty-eighth chapel, a copy by Francesco Petrucci (1660-1719) of the Madonna with Child painted by Rosso Fiorentino in 1522 (the original is in the Palatine Gallery in Pitti Palace); in the twenty-ninth chapel, by the entrance to the Sacrysty, is an Organ dated 1824; in the thirtieth chapel, a Madonna with Saint Anna and other Saints, by Ridolfo and Michele del Ghirlandaio;
Sacrysty: from the twenty-ninth chapel we can enter the Vestibule, realized by Cronaca (1492-94) after a plan by Giuliano da Sangallo and characterized by the vault and the columns ascribedd to Andrea Sansovino; from here we reach the octagonal Sacrysty, built in 1489-92 after a plan by Giuliano da Sangallo; at the altar by the entrance is a painting by Alessandro Allori (1596).

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