San Miniato al Monte is the church of Florence, which was not touched by Renaissance architects. The only innovations introduced were the new bell tower and staircase in white marble. The church is functioning. During the evening service you can listen to wonderful singing.
Basilica of San Miniato al Monte - a temple dedicated to the first holy martyr of Florence, photo elisabetta ermini
The Basilica di San Miniato al Monte (Basilica di San Miniato al Monte) stands on the hill of Monte alle Croci, on the banks of Arno. The architecture of the temple is unique - it is a fully preserved example of the Florentine Romanesque style. In the Renaissance, the church was not reconstructed.
From the history
The basilica was laid at the site of the death of the first Florentine holy martyr - the pilgrim Minyato (Minias). C IV century on the hill there was a small chapel of St. Petra. In the XI century, instead of the old sanctuary, it was decided to erect a grandiose church.
The construction of the Basilica of San Miniato was begun in 1033, through the efforts of Bishop Alibrand, at the behest of Henry II of Bavaria and his wife, the pious Kunigunda. At the insistence of the imperial couple, the remains of St. Minyato was transferred to the altar of the new temple, accompanied by the highest ranks of the clergy and personally the bishop.
San Miniato al Monte, photo by Marco Farolfi
The basilica is a three-nave Romanesque building. Its facade is divided by entablature into three tiers. The lower level is decorated with five semi-arches, standing on columns of green stone with white marble capitals. In the second tier, the side naves are distinguished by two symmetrical pediments, between them there is a portico with four pilasters and a window. The upper part of the portico is decorated with mosaics depicting Jesus, the Virgin and St. Minyato.
The third tier goes into a triangular tympanum, crowned with a cross and decorated with inlay. At the top of the pediment, you can see the copper eagle - a symbol of the guild of Kalimal - the guardians of the church in 1288.
The bell tower of the temple collapsed in 1499. Its restoration was carried out by the architect Baccio D'Agnolo. The reconstruction of the tower lasted until 1533. At the beginning of the XX century, the campaign was again subjected to major restoration. Four bells were reinstalled; the weight of the largest of them was 40 tons.
The interior of the basilica
Interior of the basilica, photo Koman
The interior of the basilica is completely made in the Romanesque style. Ceilings - flat, with open patterned rafters. The dominant feature of the interior is a high choir located above the crypt. The marble mosaic floor of the central nave was made in 1207. It is decorated with geometric patterns and astrological symbols.
Crucifixion Chapel, photo by HEN-Magonza
In the center of the main nave is the Crucifixion Chapel. Its walls are decorated with panels by Agnolo Gaddy. Ceramic ceiling decorations were made by the outstanding quattrocento sculptor, the skilled ceramist Luca della Robbia. He created a crucifix over the central altar.
Chapel of the Portuguese Cardinal
Chapel of the Portuguese Cardinal, photo by HEN-Magonza
The funeral chapel of the Cardinal of Portugal is located in the left nave. This tomb chapel was built in 1473, according to the design of Manetti. The tombstone of Cardinal Giacomo Lusitansky was completed by Bernardo and Antonio Rossellini. The decoration of the chapel was done by Luca della Robbia, Alesso Baldovinetti and the Pollayolo brothers.
13th-century Byzantine mosaic depicting Christ, Our Lady, and the king of Armenia on the arches of the apse, photo by HEN-Magonza
The apse vault is decorated with medieval mosaics by an unknown author depicting Saint Minyato. The department of the temple, located in the presbytery area, belongs to the beginning of the XIII century.
From the presbytery you can go to the sacristy. On its walls, a cycle of plot frescoes from the life of St. Benedict, written by Spinello Aretino, has been preserved. Light enters the vault through a modern stained glass window, and the original Gothic stained glass window of the sacristy was destroyed in 1630. Wooden wardrobes for storing vestments were made by the master Monichatto.
Crypt, photo by John Menard
The crypt of the basilica is located under the altar part and is divided into seven naves - four lateral and three central. The flat cross vault of the underground part of the temple is supported by 38 columns of marble and brick. On the capitals of the columns in some places there were traces of gilding. On the arches of the left side of the crypt are preserved frescoes of the mid-14th century, painted by Taddeo Gaddi.
San Miniato al Monte (Basilica di San Miniato al Monte)
Via delle Porte Sante, 34 50 125 Firenze Italy
Take bus 12 to the S.Miniato Al M. 01 stop