Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is one of the most important churches in Florence and rises on the homonymous square. Santa Croce was and still is an ancient center of Franciscan culture, Santo Spirito accommodated the Augustinian order, while Santa Maria Novella was for Florence the point of reference for an other important begging order, the Dominicans.
The Dominican friars arrived in Florence in 1219. Two years after, in 1221, obtained the small church of Santa Maria of the Vines, therefore called for the agricultural lands that surrounded it. This church was consecrated in 1049 or in 1094, and there are ruines of it under the sacristy, in particular some Romanesque pillars.
The first stone of the new building was placed in 1278.
The marble façade of Santa Maria Novella is among the most important works of the Renaissance. On the façade appear, beyond the marble decorations, also some scientific instrumentations added in 1572-1574.
The church was the second basilica in Florence where elements of gothic architecture were used, after the church of Santa Trinità.
The interpretation of the new style was very original and was an example for a great number of following religious buildings. Numerous and of highest profile the works of art in the church, among which the Trinità by Masaccio, painted between 1426 and 1428.
Annexed to the church, the buildings of the convent, with three monumental cloisters: the Chiostro Verde (Green Cloister), the Cappellone degli Spagnoli (Chapel of the Spanish) and the refectory, that nowadays are part of the Museo di Santa Maria Novella.