San Miniato al Monte, Florence

San Miniato al Monte, Florence (must see)

Standing atop one of the highest points in Florence, San Miniato has been described as one of the finest Romanesque structures in Tuscany and one of Italy's most beautiful churches. Though it's not easy to get to in case of limited mobility, it makes a very nice combination with Piazzale Michelangelo, and is completely free to visit along with the adjoining Olivetan monastery seen to the right of the basilica, when ascending the stairs.

An Armenian prince serving in the Roman army under Emperor Decius, St. Miniato or Minas was denounced as a Christian after becoming a hermit and was brought before the Emperor who ordered him to be thrown to beasts in an amphitheater where a panther was called upon him but refused to devour him. Eventually beheaded in the presence of the Emperor, he is alleged to have picked up his head, crossed the river Arno and walked up the hill of Mons Fiorentinus to his hermitage. A shrine was later erected at this spot followed by a chapel in the 8th century.

Construction of the present basilica was financed by a clothe merchants' guild who were responsible for the church's upkeep. Tuscan Romanesque in style, complete with beautiful mosaic decorations, superb marble inlay altar, and even a “pagan” horoscope, it is quite a spectacular sight with many pieces created by some of the finest artists in Florence.

Once you have explored the church, it's interesting to poke around the rather surreal and intriguing cemetery that houses some very old and elaborate tombstones, including those of many important city residents, such as Carlo Collodi of “Pinocchio” fame.

Last but not least, the small gift shop on the premises carries a wide assortment of interesting gifts, such as herbal liqueurs, honey, herbal teas, and high-quality medicinal tinctures prepared by the Olivetan monks.

Tip:
At 5:30pm, you can join or observe the mass which is in Latin and Italian with all the hymns sung by the priests. By 6:30 pm, the monks come out to chant their vespers, too!
And, of course, make sure you go behind the church to view the city in all of its glory!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9:30am-1pm / 3:30-7pm

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Florence, Italy within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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San Miniato al Monte on Map

Sight Name: San Miniato al Monte
Sight Location: Florence, Italy
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) containing this sight: City Orientation Walking Tour

Walking Tours in Florence, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

Creating your own self-guided walk in Florence is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Arno South Bank Walking Tour

Arno South Bank Walking Tour

The area south of Arno river, also called Oltrarno ("Beyond the Arno"), is a quieter place but not less interesting. Here you can find the Pitti Palace whose collection of paintings is second only to the Uffizi and the vast Boboli Gardens once enjoyed by the Medici and the royal family. This self guided walk takes you to these and other wonderful places, along the way passing by charming...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Florence Local Food Walk

Florence Local Food Walk

Food is one of the great Florentine passions, and the great thing about having a delicious authentic meal, a snack, delicatessen, or a quality gelato here is not having to spend a lot of money for it. In general, the “osterias” and the eateries nestled in Sant’Ambrogio Market will offer cheaper and more casual food with an emphasis on home cooking, but there's no shortage of “smart”...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante Alighieri was arguably the greatest – albeit also most controversial – of Italy's poets. After having served as one of the six priors governing Florence, his political activities, including the banishing of several rivals, led to his own banishment, upon which he wrote his masterpiece, “The Divine Comedy”, as a virtual wanderer, seeking protection for his family in one town...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Duomo Walking Tour

Duomo Walking Tour

Duomo quarter is located in the very heart of the Florence Historic Center. This area is deservedly considered the religious and the civic centre of the town. Most of the historic sites Florence is famous for are to be found here. Take this self-guided walk to explore all the masterpieces of the Duomo quarter.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
City Orientation Walking Tour

City Orientation Walking Tour

The city of Florence was founded by Julius Caesar in 59 BC as a settlement for veteran soldiers and, as such, was built in the style of an army camp with the main streets intersecting at the present Piazza della Repubblica. The original name Fluentia was due to the fact that the city was built between two rivers. Later, the name was changed to Florentia which means “flowering” or...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Historic Centre Nightlife

Historic Centre Nightlife

Well known for its beautiful historic architecture and for its huge contribution to the Renaissance movement in Italy, Florence remains a vibrant, thriving center of activity that hosts not only a large tourism trade, but also attracts a lot of international students studying abroad. As such, Florence possesses a hot nightlife scene where guests from around the world can hear some amazing music...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles

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