Santa Maria Maggiore, Florence

Santa Maria Maggiore, Florence (must see)

Santa Maria Maggiore di Firenze is a medieval church in Florence. Originally constructed in the 11th century, it underwent extensive renovations to the facade and sides in the 13th century. The original church existed as early as the 8th century and is first documented in 931. In 1176 it obtained the status of collegiate church and was one of Florence's priories. The church subsequently expanded its possessions and in 1183 it was put under papal direct protection by Lucius III in 1186, which it kept in the following century. Acquired by the Cistercians, in the 13th century, the church was rebuilt (with the exception of the original external walls and the vaults) in Gothic style. During the 15th century, the church's finances declined: in 1514 Giulio de' Medici describes it as decaying, and in the following year the pope gave it to the Florence Cathedral's capitol. In 1521 it went to the Carmelites from Mantua. In the early 17th century the interior was restored by Gherardo Silvani, perhaps following a project by Bernardo Buontalenti.

The exterior is rather undecorated, with stone walls and the portals surmounted by tympani. The bell tower, although reduced in height, survives from the Romanesque building. It has a Roman head embedded in its walls, popularly known as Berta. The interior is simple with a nave and two aisles, ogival arches and groin vaults. Artworks include frescoes by Bernardino Poccetti (Histories of St. Zenobius in the vault), a Nativity by Matteo Rosselli, and, above the altar of the left transept chapel, a polychromed stucco relief panel, the Madonna del Carmelo, long attributed to the 13th-century artist, Coppo di Marcovaldo. A recent restoration has caused scholars to question this attribution and posit an earlier, 12th-century date for the panel.

Why You Should Visit:
Not as glamorous as other Florentine churches but beautiful nonetheless.
On the interior, there are a few interesting frescoes that reveal a glimpse of the 11th century.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-12pm / 3:30-5:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour in Florence, Italy, in the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded on 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.

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Sight Map

Sight Name: Santa Maria Maggiore
Sight Location: Florence, Italy
Sight Type: Religious Site
Guide(s) containing this sight: Novella Walking Tour   Dante's Florence 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

Arno South Bank, also known as Oltrarno, what literally means "beyond the Arno", is a magical place, though not everyone knows about it. The many historical places located in this part of the city will amaze you. Take this tour to see some wonderful sites that you will never forget.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 km
Florence Museums

Florence Museums

Over the centuries Florence gained a huge collection of art works. Almost half of them come from the world known artists that lived here and the other half comes from the private collection of the Medici family that have ruled the city for a long time. To show their pride, the city of Florence displayed all these magnificent works of art in numerous museums and palaces. Take this tour to get familiarized with the best paintings, sculptures, drawings, frescoes in the world.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
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 and dance until the break of dawn. Take this Florence Nightlife Tour to Discover all this city has to offer when the sun goes down.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
Duomo Souvenir Shopping

Duomo Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Florence without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Florence, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km
Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo spent over 20 years of his life in Florence during which he created some of the most beautiful masterpieces this city had ever seen. The most famous of them, the David, is also located in Florence along with a few copies. Take this tour to discover the Florence side of Michelangelo's artistic mastership.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
City Orientation Walking Tour

City Orientation Walking Tour

Florence, located in Italy, is believed to be the cultural capital of the world. Sometimes called the Athens of the Middle Ages and the birthplace of the Renaissance movement, Florence attracts millions of tourists every year. Don't miss the chance to visit some of its most alluring attractions.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


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