- Backpackers / Students
- Culture vultures
- Design and architecture
This huge Gothic church has a glorious façade and houses some magnificent frescoes.
The most important Gothic church in Tuscany houses a huge quantity of art and is surprisingly crowd-free; it’s also my favourite church in Florence. Not only is the church itself, with its superb black and white swirling façade and striped interior, a magnificent building, but its chapels are full of important frescoes and the peaceful cloisters are a delight.
The calm, uncluttered interior is dominated by Giotto’s crucifix (ca.1300) hanging dramatically in the middle of the nave. Opposite the door is Masaccio’s famous 'Trinità' (ca. 1425), painted in eerie colours and remarkable for its early use of perspective. In the left transept is the elevated Strozzi Chapel, entirely covered by frescoes by Nardi di Cione (ca. 1357) and his brother Andrea (Orcagna). Delightful, vivid frescoes by Domenico Ghirlandaio dominate the Sanctuary (behind the alter) while the adjacent Filippo Strozzi chapel was decorated by Filippino Lippi. Strozzi’s exquisitely carved marble tomb is by Benedetto di Maiano.
There are more wonderful frescoes in the Museo di Santa Maria Novella, housed in the adjacent convent. The green-hued, rather faded paintings in the Chiostro Verde are by Paolo Uccello while the Spanish Chapel is decorated with frescoes by Andrea di Buonaiuto.