All Churches in Tuscany

Italy has many churches, and all of them are beautiful and full of spectacular works of art. The main church of the city is referred as Il Duomo, but you will find churches that are named Basilica, Chiesa or Cattedrale, depending on their size and importance. Discover below one of the most important churches in Tuscany.

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    Lucca Cathedral of San Martino

    The Cathedral of San Martino is a church dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, located in the square with the same name, in Lucca. According to tradition, the cathedral was founded by San Frediano in the 6th century, then rebuilt by Anselmo da Baggio, Bishop of the city, in 1060, and finally remodeled in its current form in the 12th and 13th centuries.   SHORT HISTORY In the 8th century, the Church of San Martino received the title of Cathedral from the Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata, located nearby. The Cathedral was completely rebuilt starting with 1060, and solemnly consecrated in 1070 by Anselmo da Baggio, who at the time of the consecration was Pope Alexander II, but had also kept the title of Bishop of Lucca. In 1204, Guido Bigarelli of Como began the work on the facade. In 1372, two years after the liberation from the Pisan domination, the apse of the church and the wall of the transept were completed in Gothic style. The works were finished around 1390.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The main facade of the church was begun in 1204 by Guido Bigarelli of Como. The facade consists of a vast portico of Read more [...]

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    Baptistery of San Giovanni

    The Baptistery of San Giovanni is one of the monuments of the Piazza dei Miracoli, in Pisa. The baptistery stands in front of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, south of the Camposanto Monumentale (monumental cemetery) and about 170 meters from the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.   SHORT HISTORY The construction of the building began in 1152, to replace a smaller baptistery located north-east of the Cathedral, where the Camposanto is now located. It was built in Romanesque style by the architect Diotisalvi, who is also credited with the construction of the Tower of Pisa. Later, the works were conducted by Nicola Pisano, Giovanni Pisano and Cellino di Nese. In the 19th century, along with the renovation that affected the entire Piazza del Duomo and its monuments, the baptistery was the subject of a radical restoration by the architect Alessandro Gherardesca. His interventions led to the reconstruction of some portals and much of the decorations. Despite the denunciations of some intellectuals and prominent personalities of the Pisan culture of the time, the works of the 19th century, directed by the master builder Giovanni Storni, led to the removal of numerous sculptures by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. The original sculptures Read more [...]

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    Siena Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Siena, dedicated to the of the Assumption of Saint Mary, is located in the homonymous square in the historical center of the city, being one of the most beautiful churches in Italy, a great exemple of Romanesque-Gothic architecture.   SHORT HISTORY It seems that the current cathedral replaced a first church dedicated to Saint Mary, built around the 9th century, which in turn replaced an ancient temple dedicated to Minerva. The first real information about the building of the cathedral is from 1226, when the first costs and contracts related to the construction were recorded. Probably, the works had begun some time before that, because the consecration tooked place, according to the tradition, on November 18, 1179. Between 1238 and 1285, the church was administered by the monks of San Galgano. From 1284 to 1297, Giovanni Pisano was responsible for the construction of the lower part of the facade, completed between 1299 and 1317 by Camaino di Crescentino, father of the sculptor Tino di Camaino. The bell-tower, at a height of 77 meters, was finished in 1313. The works were completed in 1370.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is elevated on a Read more [...]

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    Pisa Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    Located in the famous Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), between the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, or the Duomo di Pisa, is a masterpiece of the Romanesque style, representing the tangible proof of the prestige and wealth achieved by the Maritime Republic of Pisa at its height.   SHORT HISTORY The building of Pisa Cathedral was started in 1064 by the architect Buscheto, at the same time with the reconstruction of the Basilica of Saint Mark, in Venice, as part of the race between the two maritime republics to create the most beautiful and sumptuous place of worship. The cathedral was consecrated with great pomp on September 26th, 1118, by Pope Gelasius II. In the first half of the 12th century, the cathedral was enlarged under the direction of architect Rainaldo. He designed a new facade, built by the sculptors Guglielmo and Biduino. The work ended in 1180, as documented by the date on the bronze knockers made by Bonanno Pisano for the main door. Following the disastrous fire of 1595, the roof of the church was redone and the three bronze doors of the facade were executed Read more [...]

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    Arezzo Cathedral of Saints Donato and Peter

    The Cathedral of Saints Donato and Peter (Cattedrale di Santi Donato e Pietro) is the main catholic church in Arezzo, dominating the city from the height of San Pietro Hill.   SHORT HISTORY An important event, which contributed to the construction of the cathedral, was the visit of Pope Gregorio X, which took place on December 20, 1275, returning from the Council of Lyon. The Pope, seriously ill, died in Arezzo on January 10, leaving the sum of thirty gold florins for the building of the new Cathedral. In 1277, the decree of the bishop Guglielmo degli Ubertini was promulgated, which stated the desire to build a church “to the honor of God, of the Blessed Virgin and of the patron Saint Donato”. In 1289, the year of the Battle of Campaldino, the church, already consecrated, presented a fully built apse and the first two bays. In 1384, the sale of the Municipality of Arezzo to the Signoria of Florence led to an interruption of the construction, which was resumed in 1471 and ended in 1511. In the early 17th century, following the new rules of the Council of Trent, a modernization operation was carried out with the renewal of Read more [...]

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    Florence Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

    Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, known as the Duomo of Florence, is one of the most famous churches in Italy. When it was completed, in the 15th century, it was the largest church in the world, while today it is the third in Europe after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London.   SHORT HISTORY In 1294, the Commune of Florence orders the construction of a new cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore (St. Mary of the Flower). Two years later, the architect Arnolfo di Cambio is comissioned to design the cathedral, but he dies a few years later. In 1334, Giotto di Bondone was appointed as the architect of the cathedral. In the same year, he starts the building of the bell-tower. Three years later, Giotto dies. Between 1337 and 1343, the works are supervised by Andrea Pisano, but he is banished from Florence and Francesco Talenti takes his place. Talenti alters Arnolfo’s design and completes the bell-tower in 1359. After 1366, Giovanni di Lapo Ghini joins him. In 1420, Filippo Brunelleschi wins the competition for building the cathedral’s dome, opens the construction site and, 16 years later, in 1436, the dome is completed and Read more [...]

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    Basilica di Santa Croce

    Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is a beautiful Franciscan church situated in Piazza di Santa Croce, in Florence. Here, Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the greatest sculptors of all time, is buried.   SHORT HISTORY It is said that, in the year 1211, Saint Francis arrived in Florence. In a little island created by the Arno River, there was a chapel dedicated to the Holy Cross which would be donated to Saint Francis and from which the present church would take the name. The construction of the church started in 1294, after a project elaborated probably by Arnolfo di Cambio, one of the most important architects of that time. Over time, many great artists worked here, such as Giotto, Taddeo and Agnolo Gaddi, Maso di Banco, Giovanni da Milano, Brunelleschi and Michelozzo. Due to floods and epidemics, the basilica was finished at the end of the 14th century and was consecrated in 1442 by Pope Eugenio IV. With many difficulties, the last works were done until 1504, but then the funding came to an end and the church remained without a façade. The current façade was built in neo-gothic style between 1853 and 1863 by the architect Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria Forisportam

    The Church of Santa Maria Forisportam, or the Church of Santa Maria Bianca, is a church located in the square with the same name, in Lucca. Forisportam comes from the Latin foris portam, which means outside the gate, due to the location of a first church built on this place during the Roman times, outside the ancient walls of the city. Bianca (white) comes from the white marble facade of the church.   SHORT HISTORY In the 12th century, the church was rebuilt and incorporated within the medieval walls of Lucca. The church was modeled after the Cathedral of Pisa. The bell tower was built in 1619, and other restoration works were carried out during the 18th and 19th centuries. From 1512 until the Napoleonic suppression, the church was affiliated with the Canonici Regolari of San Salvatore of Bologna. In 1819, the Canonici returned, and in 1823 they fused with the Canonici Regolari Lateranensi into a single order.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE On the facade of the church, the first order is articulated by blind arcades supported by semi-columns of Pisan imitation. Also on the facade, we can find three portals with architraves decorated with classical motifs. The second order Read more [...]

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    Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata

    The Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata is a church located in Piazza San Giovanni, in Lucca, about 120 meters away from the Piazza Napoleone and the Ducal Palace and about the same from the Teatro del Giglio.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in the 5th century on the site of a Roman settlement, and was the Cathedral of Lucca until the 8th century, when the role was given to the nearby Church of San Martino. However, after the change, the baptismal font was kept in the Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata, and the two holy places remained inseparably linked. In the 12th century, a new edifice replaced the old church. The new church, with three naves supported by columns with composite capitals, with apse and transept, wasn’t so different from the early Christian structure. The baptistery was also rebuilt in the 12th century, but the most important renovation works were made in 1393, when it was covered with an ogival dome. Starting with the end of the 16th century and throughout the first two decades of the following century, a new renovation was carried out. During this time, the new facade was built, reusing for the Read more [...]

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    Church of Saints Vito and Ranieri

    The Church of Saints Vito and Ranieri, popularly known as the Church of San Vito, is a church located on the Lungarno Ranieri Simonelli, in Pisa, in which, according to tradition, Saint Rainerius, the patron saint of the city, died in 1160.   SHORT HISTORY Documented since 1051, the church was surrounded by a Benedictine monastery in 1069. At the beginning of the 15th century, the whole complex passed to the nuns of Santa Chiara. A century later, the church was damaged during the Florentine siege of the city. In 1542, Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, to realize the Giardino dei Semplici, now the Botanical Garden of Pisa, needed the area of the old Republican Arsenal and the adjacent territory. Subsequently, to build the new shipyard, he purchased the entire territory of the Convent of San Vito and had a large part of the building demolished. The ancient church was seriously damaged during the bombings of the Second World War. Therefore, after the war, it was rebuilt in similar forms to those of the 18th century.   ARCHITECTURE The church, crammed between two other buildings, has a simple plastered facade, with a portal surmounted by an arched Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Cristina

    The Church of Santa Cristina is a church located on the southern bank of the Arno river, on the Lungarno Gambacorti, in Pisa, a few meters away from the Palazzo Blu.   SHORT HISTORY The church is documented since the 8th century, but the external apsidal structures are attributed to the 10th century. The church was destroyed by a flood in 1115 and rebuilt in 1118. From the 13th to the 16th century, it was the property of the Canonici del Duomo. The Count Luigi Archinto, member of a prominent Milanese family, moved to Pisa in the late 18th century, and in 1814 he acquired the Agnello palace adjacent to the church. The Count Archinto commissioned the reconstruction of the church, which was in a very poor conservation. The church was restored in its current form in 1816 on a project by Francesco Riccetti, when the bell tower was also built. In 1854, according to the project of Lanfranco Mei regarding the enlargement of the Lungarno Gambacorti, the position of the church was in a strong contrast with the harmony of the nearby buildings. Saved by the proposal of demolition, it was decided to rectify the rectory overlooking the river. Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco

    The Church of San Francesco is a church dating from the 13th century, located in Piazza San Francesco, in Pisa.   SHORT HISTORY Mentioned for the first time in a document from 1233, the church was rebuilt starting with 1261 at the behest of the archbishop Federico Visconti. Between 1265 and 1270, the works were directed by Giovanni di Simone. During this time, the slender bell-tower was also built. The new church included many private chapels belonging to noble Pisan families. The chapels, which preserve ancient tombs, were built and adorned by the Pisan families, who exercised the right of patronage on the church, while the Franciscan monks only limited themselves to the administration of the cult. Two new cloisters and the San Bernardino chapel were added in the 15th century. The marble facade dates back to 1603, and the interior was renovated in the same 17th century. In 1863, following a law of December 1861, the church and convent were deconsecrated and converted to military barracks. All the objects, paintings and ornaments were therefore withdrawn by the families, who exercised their patronage rights. On 7 July 1866, the church was transformed into a warehouse. On 22 May 1893, the Read more [...]

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    Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri

    The Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri is a church dedicated to Saint Stephen, first martyr of Christianity, located in the historical center of Pisa, in Piazza dei Cavalieri, near to the beautiful Palazzo della Carovana.   SHORT HISTORY The first stone of the church was laid on 17 April 1565 by Cosimo I de’ Medici. The church was built for the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen, founded by the Grand Duke to combat Saracen piracy in the Mediterranean. Designed by Giorgio Vasari, with the works being supervised by David Fortini, the church was built on the site of the old Church of San Sebastiano alle Fabbriche Maggiori, documented since 1074. The construction was completed in August 1567, and the church was consecrated on December 1569. The bell tower, added between 1570 and 1572, was erected by Giovanni Fancelli based on a design by Vasari. In the following century, the church was decorated with most of the paintings that are still on display, painted by the greatest Florentine masters of the 17th century. The altar and the nave were designed by Pier Francesco Silvani. Between 1683 and 1691, the two side bodies were built, used as dressing rooms Read more [...]

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    Church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno

    The Church of San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno (St. Paul on the bank of the Arno), is a church from the 10th century located in Pisa, on the Lungarno Sidney Sonnino, in the homonymous square.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built around the year 925 and is attested in documents dating back to 1032. The associated convent has been documented since 1147. The church and the monastery belonged to the Benedictine monks until 1092, when it was given to the Vallumbrosan monks. In the mid-twelfth century, it was enlarged in similar forms to the contemporary Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Later, the church and the monastery were entrusted to the cardinal Landolfo Marramauro and, in the 16th century, it was assigned to the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen. After the suppression of the order, the church became a parish. In the 19th century, several restorations were made, but the building suffered some damage during the Second World War and was therefore restored again between 1949 and 1952. Just as a result of the post-war interventions, most of the buildings adjacent to the church were demolished. In 2012, it was closed due to precarious conditions. Restoration started in Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria della Spina

    The Church of Santa Maria della Spina is a small Gothic church in Pisa, located on the southern bank of the river Arno. The title della Spina comes from a thorn of the crown of thorns placed on Christ during his Crucifixion, which was brought to the church in 1333, but is kept in the Church of Santa Chiara since the 19th century.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1230 by the Gualandi family, and it was originally called Santa Maria di Pontenovo, because of a nearby bridge across the river Arno that connected Via Sant’Antonio to Via Santa Maria, collapsed in the 15th century. Between 1323 and 1376, enlargement works were made, probably under the direction of the architect Lupo di Francesco. Starting with the 5th decade of the 15th century, the works were supervised by the architect Andrea Pisano and his son, Nino. After the unification of Italy, the city council and a commission formed by members of the Academy of Fine Arts decided to dismantle and rebuild the church on a higher ground. The works, led by the architect Vincenzo Micheli, started in 1871 and ended in 1875. This intervention moved the building a few Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Frediano

    One of the oldest churches in Lucca, Basilica of San Frediano is built in Romanesque style in the square with the same name, Piazza San Frediano. Every year, on the evening of September 13, the candlelit procession of Luminara di Santa Croce, part of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, starts here.   SHORT HISTORY An ancient church was built in this place in the 6th century, dedicated to the three holy Levites Vincenzo, Stefano and Lorenzo. The construction of this church is owed to San Frediano, an Irish pilgrim who was bishop of Lucca between 560 and 588. During the Longobard domination, the church was enlarged. At the end of the 8th century, a crypt was built for the body of San Frediano. In 1112, it began the rebuilding of the church, that will be consecrated in 1147 by Pope Eugene III. The project included a church with three naves and an apse, with the facade facing east, unlike the Augustinian rule that oriented it to the west. In the 12th century, the church was lower than we see today. The raising of the central nave and the construction of the wooden ceiling dates back to Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Michele in Foro

    Basilica of San Michele in Foro is a beautiful church in Lucca, located in the square with the same name, Piazza San Michele.   SHORT HISTORY In the 8th century, at the center of the ancient Roman forum, a church dedicated to San Michele (Archangel Michael) was built, together with a monastery and a hospital. Around 1070, by the will of Pope Alessandro II, the reconstruction of the church began, and ended much later, in the 14th century. The new church will have three naves, Corinthian columns with capitals and an apse. The bell-tower was built around the same period, but was later cut off by Giovanni dell’Agnello, Doge of Pisa from 1364 to 1368, because the sound of its bells could be heard from Pisa. During the medieval period, access to the church was made by crossing a wooden bridge, called Ponte al Foro, which passed over the canal Fossa Natali. At the beginning of the 13th century, the works were carried out by the architect Guidetto.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE San Michele in Foro is a church with a Latin cross plan, built in Romanesque style. The facade is adorned with four levels of loggias and surmounted by Read more [...]

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    Church of Saints Lorentino and Pergentino

    The Church of Saints Lorentino and Pergentino (Chiesa dei Santi Lorentino e Pergentino) is a small church located along the former ancient Roman road which connected Chiusi, through Arezzo, to Florence.   SHORT HISTORY Some historians cite the ancient Passion of Saints Lorentino and Pergentino, dating back to the VI-VII century, to identify the church as the place of the burial of two Christian martyrs, Lorentino and Pergentino, beheaded on 3 June 250 by the Emperor Decius. Little information exists regarding what happened with the church between the burial of the martyrs and the Middle Ages. A document from 1135 shows that the church belonged to the Benedictine abbey of Saints Flora and Lucilla. In the year 1204, the parish was given to the monks of Camaldoli, to compensate the sale of their church of San Pier Piccolo. They took care of the church from 1252 until the sixteenth century. In 1663, it seems that, of the entire complex, only the church remained. Later, the church was also abandoned and reduced to a barn. This process of continuous decay up to the loss of the entire western part, that of the façade, and the near construction of numerous huts and Read more [...]

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    San Miniato al Monte

    San Miniato al Monte is a beautiful church which stands on one of the highest points in Florence, overseeing the city from above for nearly 1000 years.   SHORT HISTORY St. Miniato was an Armenian soldier, who was killed in the year 250 AD by the Roman soldiers of Emperor Decius, because he converted to Christianity, and Christians were persecuted at that time. He is considered the first martyr of the city and his remains are supposedly kept today in the crypt of St. Miniato al Monte. The oldest historical evidence of a church dedicated to San Miniato dates back to the year 783. The building was neglected and unsafe, and the Florentine bishop Ildebrando began to build a new one on April 27, 1018. The church was finished two hundred years later, in the 13th century. In 1373, the Olivetan monks arrived in Florence, called by the Pope Gregorio XI, and settled in the monastery, where you can still find them today. The Chapel dedicated to the Cardinal Giacomo di Coimbra (Cardinal of Portugal) was built between 1461 and 1466 by Antonio Manetti and finished by Antonio Rossellino, after his death. During the 16th century, with the emergence of Read more [...]

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    Santa Maria Novella

    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.   SHORT HISTORY 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 Read more [...]