Florence’s first great basilica, the 15th century Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is richly decorated with works of Gothic and Renaissance masters. The art adorning its chapels draw in countless visitors each year.
Some of its most notable chapels include the Filippo Strozzi, the Gondi, and the large, central Tornabuoni. Much of the stained glass throughout these chapels and the rest of Santa Maria Novella dates to the 14th and 15th centuries. The pulpit was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, the same mastermind behind the Florence Duomo’s iconic cupola. Vivid frescoes throughout the church are attributed to masters including Masaccio, Nardo di Cione and Bugiardini.
Located directly across from a train station bearing the same name, the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is well located in Florence. The entire city centre of Florence is, in fact, quite compact and easy to navigate on foot. A walk to the basilica from the Piazza della Signoria takes less than 15 minutes.
Before its claim by the Dominican order, the site of Santa Maria Novella was originally home to a 9th century oratory, the Santa Maria delle Vigne. Hence its modern name, which translates to the New Church of Saint Mary. Its Gothic façade owes to its medieval construction under the watchful eyes of Fra Sisto Fiorentino and Fra Ristoro da Campi.