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

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Florence. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. 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 (See walking tours in Florence)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Florence, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

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Duomo Walking Tour

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Florence Food Tour

Florence Food Tour

Food is one of the great Florentine passions, and the great thing about having a delicious authentic Tuscan meal, a snack, delicatessen, or a quality gelato here – besides the abundant variety – 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...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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Medici Landmarks Walking Tour

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Designed by...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Dante's Florence Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
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Arno South Bank Walking Tour

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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. One of the first and most important examples of "Italian Gardens", they later served as...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Duomo Souvenir Shopping

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It would be a pity to leave Florence without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. On this self-guided tour, we've compiled a list of shops and markets where you can find something unique to remember your Florentine visit.

Start at Central Market, which is not only a fun and colorful place to visit, but also the best place to stop for a meal....  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles

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