Santa Maria Novella, Florence

Santa Maria Novella, Florence

Built in the 13th century, Santa Maria Novella is, chronologically, the first great basilica in Florence, and the city's principal Dominican church. The church, the adjoining cloister, and chapter house contain a multiplicity of art treasures and funerary monuments. Especially famous are frescoes by masters of Gothic and early Renaissance, financed by the most important Florentine families, who ensured themselves funerary chapels on consecrated ground.

On the exterior, the pediment and the frieze are clearly inspired by antiquity, but the S-curved scrolls in the upper part are new and without precedent in antiquity. Solving a longstanding architectural problem of how to transfer from wide to narrow storeys, the scrolls (or variations of them), found in churches all over Italy, all draw their origins from the design of this church.

As well as being a beautiful church with amazing cloisters, it also contains many art treasures: frescoes, statues, paintings and wooden crosses. Some of the pieces are world-famous, such as "The Holy Trinity", a fresco by Masaccio which profoundly influenced Florentine painting and inspired future generations with its use of perspective and mathematical proportions. Also of note is the pulpit designed by Brunelleschi himself, which has a particular historical significance since it was from this pulpit that the first verbal attack was made on Galileo Galilei, leading eventually to his indictment.

***DANTE'S FLORENCE TOUR***
Don't miss the Cappella Strozzi di Mantova situated at the end of the left transept. The frescoes are inspired by Dante's "Divine Comedy": Last Judgment (on the back wall; including a portrait of Dante), Hell (on the right wall) and Paradise (on the left wall). This artwork was made between 1350 and 1357.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu: 9am–5:30pm; Fri: 11am–5:30pm; Sat: 9am–5:30pm; Sun: 1–5:30pm (Oct–Mar);
Mon-Thu: 9am–7pm; Fri: 11am–7pm; Sat: 9am–5:30pm; Sun: 1–5:30pm (Apr–Jun);
Mon-Thu: 9am–7pm; Fri: 11am–7pm; Sat: 9am–6:30pm; Sun: 12–6:30pm (Jul–Aug);
Mon-Thu: 9am–7pm; Fri: 11am–7pm; Sat: 9am–5:30pm; Sun: 12–5:30pm (Sep)

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.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Santa Maria Novella on Map

Sight Name: Santa Maria Novella
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

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.
Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo spent over 20 years of his life in Florence – the birthplace of the Renaissance – during which time he created some of the most beautiful masterpieces the city had ever seen. The most famous of them – the David – was larger than life, and brought a larger-than-life image to the artist. No amount of photos or copies of the statue will do it justice, so to see it with your own...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Florence Palaces Walking Tour

Florence Palaces Walking Tour

Toward the end of the 13th century, Florentine families who had acquired power – both financial, through banking and trade, and political – began to build sizeable new palaces for themselves. The construction of the Palazzo del Popolo (now housing the Bargello Museum) acted as an important catalyst in this process, having opened the translation into the private sphere.

Early 14th century...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Florence Introduction Walking Tour

Florence Introduction 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 it was built between two rivers; later, however, this was changed to Florentia which means “flowering” or...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
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. 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
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 wanderer, seeking protection for his family in one town after...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
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)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Unique Products to Buy in Florence

Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Unique Products to Buy in Florence

Compared to other Italian "grands" like Rome, Venice, or Milan, Florence is relatively less-known to an outsider for any local products, save, perhaps, Florentine mosaics and Fiorentina FC. Fortunately, there are tonnes of locally-originated things that this Italian city is rightfully...
Florence's Tasty Coffee Shop Guide

Florence's Tasty Coffee Shop Guide

The caffe scene throughout Italy is an important factor of everyday life. People will pop in to their favorite bar on their way to work for a quick espresso breakfast with a pastry, they’ll grab a slice of pizza for lunch or drop by for an aperitivo before dining out and take a peaceful digestivo...
Top 14 Pubs in Florence

Top 14 Pubs in Florence

Florence, the city of art and beauty has no problem in mastering the art of the nightlife as well. Local pubs are very popular and appreciated among the Florentines and the tourists. Locals and native English speakers that study or live in the city cannot wait to welcome tourists in their cozy...