• About

    The Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata is a church in Florence, located in the homonymous square, in the northern part of the historical center of the city.



    According to tradition, a small oratory dedicated to the Virgin was built on this area in 1081. Around 1233, the abandoned oratory was taken over by the Servants of Mary.

    In 1250, the Servants of Mary laid the first stone for the construction of a larger basilica. The church and the adjoining convent were dedicated to Santa Maria dei Servi, from the name of the religious order.

    In 1252, according to legend, the Servants of Mary commissioned a painter called Bartolomeo to paint a fresco of the Annunciation. Despite several attempts, the painter could not paint the face of the Virgin.

    One day, Bartolomeo fell asleep, and when he woke up, by a miracle, the painting was completed. The fresco became the object of great veneration and deep devotion of the Florentines.

    Towards the end of the 13th century, the floor of the church was redone and the choir stalls were carved by master Guglielmo of Calabria. In the first half of the 14th century, various chapels and altars were built.

    On October 18, 1444, the first stone of a special tribune was laid. The tribune, located in the apse of the church, with nine radiating chapels, was started by the architect Michelozzo.

    Following financial problems, the friars offered the patronage of the tribune to Ludovico III Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua, and finally, in 1477, after slight modifications to the previous project by Leon Battista Alberti, the tribune was inaugurated.

    In 1481, the works on the central nave were completed. The church had a trussed roof, pillars, arches and cornices in pietra serena (blue-gray sandstone).

    The facade of the church with the preceding portico was built in 1601 by the architect Giovanni Battista Caccini. The architect imitated the style of the facade of the Foundling Hospital (Spedale degli Innocenti), located in the same square.



    Above the central arch of the portico, there are traces of frescoes executed between 1513 and 1514 by Jacopo Carucci, while the central portal is surmounted by an Annunciation in mosaic by Davide Ghirlandaio.

    The portico leads to a small atrium called the Cloister of the Vows (Chiostrino dei Voti), because over the centuries votive paintings and decorated statues were exhibited there.

    Under the portico, the door to the right of the central portal leads to the Oratory of San Sebastiano, built by the Pucci family in 1452 to a design by Michelozzo.

    The church has a Baroque interior, with a beautiful ceiling frescoed by Baldassare Franceschini, and marble, stucco and gilding decorations. The large paintings at the top, between the large windows, narrate the most famous Miracles of the Madonna, and were almost all painted by Cosimo Ulivelli.

    To the left of the entrance, there is the Chapel of the Most Holy Annunciation (Cappella della Santissima Annunziata), where the highly venerated image of the Virgin is preserved. The elegant temple which encloses it was designed by Michelozzo and built by Pagno Portigiani in 1448.

    Inside the church, there are preserved works by Rosso Fiorentino, Andrea del Sarto, Cosimo Rosselli, Alesso Baldovinetti, Baccio Bandinelli, Jacopo da Empoli, Matteo Rosselli, Bernardo Rossellino, Pietro Tacca and many others.



    The Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata is located about 1.3 kilometers away from the Santa Maria Novella railway station. The closest bus stop is Santissima Annunziata, located a few meters away, on the bus Lines 6, 14, 23, 31 and 32.

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