Santa Maria Novella is a wonderful Dominican church located in the square with the same name, near the train station with the same name, in the beautiful city of Florence.
In 1219, twelve Dominicans arrived in Florence from Bologna, led by Fra’ Giovanni. In 1221, they obtained the small church of Santa Maria delle Vigne, so called for the agricultural land that surrounded it.
In 1242, the Dominicans decided to start work on a new and larger church. On October 18, 1279, during the feast of San Luca, the Laying of the First Stone was celebrated, with the blessing of Cardinal Latino Malabranca Orsini.
The construction was finished around the middle of the 14th century, but it was consecrated only in 1420, by Pope Martino V.
Leon Battista Alberti designed the large central portal and the upper part of the façade, in white and dark green marble, which was completed in 1470.
After the Council of Trento, between 1565 and 1571, the interior of the church was redesigned by Giorgio Vasari, with the removal of the choir enclosure and the reconstruction of the side altars, which led to the shortening of the Gothic windows.
Between 1575 and 1577, the Gaddi chapel was built by Giovanni Antonio Dosio. A further reorganization took place between 1858 and 1860, by the architect Enrico Romoli.
An important restoration was carried out in 1999 for the preparation of the 2000 Jubilee, while a subsequent restoration of the façade was carried out from April 2006 to March 2008.
Santa Maria Novella was the first basilica where elements of Gothic architecture were used in Florence. The interpretation of the style was very original and set an example for a large number of other churches that will follow.
The church is 99.20 meters long, 28.20 wide, while the transept measures a maximum of 61.54 meters. The interior is divided into three naves with six large spans that shrink towards the altar.
The marble façade of Santa Maria Novella is among the most important works of the Florentine Renaissance. The first intervention took place around 1350, when the lower part of the façade was covered with white and green marble. On this occasion, were made the six tomb arks and the two gothic side portals.
HOW TO GET THERE
The church is located about 200 meters from the train station of Santa Maria Novella. The nearest bus station is Stazione Santa Caterina, on Lines 13, 14, 17, 22, but this area is a hub for many buses in Florence.