Church of San Miniato al Monte
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Tourist informations
Entrance from: Via di San Miniato al Monte.
Opening hours: Holydays: 8AM-7PM; Working days: 8-12,30AM; 2-7PM.
Admission ticket: Free.

The church of San Miniato al Monte ist the most notable example of Florentine Romanesque architecture.
The church is located on the hill («Monte») behind Piazzale Michelangelo and is part of a monumental group including the Bishop's Palace and the Cemetery.

History - In the spotlight

 History


According to a legend, the church was built on the place where the first cristian martyr of Florence, Miniato (3rd Century), brought his head after have beeing beheaded by pagans.
An oratory is referred to in charts from the age of Charlemagne, but the construction of the church we see today began in 1013 under direction of Bishop Ildebrando and ended in 1063 thanks to the sustain of Empereor Henry II.
A convent for Cluniacenses monks was built by the church; then, in the second halfth of 14th Century, the Olivetani monks came to San Miniato, where they remained until 1553; after then they moved to another convent but went back to San Miniato in 1924.


Click to enlarge pictures.

In 1499 the bell-tower collapsed and was rebuilt by Baccio d'Agnolo; during the siege of 1530 Michelangelo turned the bell-tower in an artilley post, and still today the building shows the signs of the imperial gunshots shooted against it in the battles.
In 1868 architect Nicola Matas built the Cemetery and the monumental stairs joining the Church to the ring road leading to Piazzale Michelangelo.

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 In the spotlight


Façade: The façade is decorated with geomatrical figures in white and green marble; the upper part shows a mosaic (13th Century) representing Christ between the Madonna and San Miniato. In the fastigium is visible the gilded eagle, symbol of the Calimala guild, which since 1228 administrated the Church.
Interior: The Church has three naves, a Crypt and a raised Chancel. Notable are the trestled ceiling and the inlaid marble floor of the central nave. In the central nave is the Tabernacle by Michelozzo (1428), with barrel vaulted roof enriched with glazed terracotta and a painting by Agnolo Gaddi (1395) with Sants Gualberto and Miniato, Annunciation and Scenes from the Passion.
In the Chancelwe find a beautiful balustrade in inlaid marble dividing the Choir and the terracotta Crucifix ascribed to Luca della Robbia. From here we can reach the Sacrysty (late 14th century.) with frescoes by Spinello Aretino with scenes from the Life of Saint Benedetto. Under the Chancel is located theCrucifix Chapel, realized by Michelozzo (1447-48) and commissioned by Piero di Cosimo de 'Medici.
In the Apsis: the large mosaic whit a Blessing Christ dates to the 12th Century and has been restored several times in different periods. The Crypt (12th Century) is divided is seven small naves by 36 marble columns originating from Roman buildings.
In the right nave are various frescoes (12th to 14th century). By the left nave is located the Chapel of the Cardinal of Portugal (1473), ascribed to Antonio Manetti, a pupil of Brunelleschi. The chapel was built in memory of Jacopo of Lusitania, the nephew of King Alfonso of Portugal who died in Florence in 1459: the Chapel is enriched with glazed terrecottas by Luca della Robbia, frescoes by Alessio baldovinetti and a painting by Antonio and Piero del Pollaiolo. The tomb of the Cardinal is a work by Bernardo Rossellino.

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