Today we take our first look inside Santa Maria Novella Church. It’s taken us this long because the last time we went to visit we were put off by the 5.50 euro ticket price, as I feel that entry into churches should be free (as they mostly are in Italy). However, after reading the community’s website in Italian, I learned that residents of Florence enter for free. So, with our official letters of residency in tow (a completely separate process than the Italian immigration/permesso process I have mentioned), in we went! (After entering and realizing how big the complex is and that part of it is considered a museum, I understood the entrance price better.)
Santa Maria Novella (started in the 1200′s) is fairly well known as it is right across the street from the main train station which shares its name. Therefore, most visitors to Florence have at least seen it from the outside (pics below of the front facade and folks outside the walls – and yes, it IS raining!). I know I have often said how amazing the churches all over Europe are – and this one is no exception. As a matter of fact, it is even more amazing because not only is there an enormous church decorated to the hilt, but an entire complex, complete with a cloister, smaller chapels and lots of tombs. There is so much art and detail and interesting tombs that you could literally spend days exploring every nook and cranny of the complex. There are the famous pieces – like Giotto’s Crucifix (1288-1289) and another Crucifix by Brunelleschi (1410 – 1415). But even the not-so-famous stuff is pretty cool. There are frescoes all along the walls in the cloister, as well as frescoes and tile work and more in all of the little prayer spaces and chapels throughout. It’s pretty overwhelming how much work went into this place! (Every time we see one of these churches we always marvel at how it was all accomplished before the days of forklifts and electric drills!)
Here, take a look inside yourself:
Thank you for coming along and have a wonderful weekend!