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Santa Maria Novella, Florence

Piazza Santa Maria Novella
Tel: 39 055 282 187's insider take:

The 13th-century Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella has a stunning black and white marble facade by Alberti. Inside, there is an extraordinary wealth of art that many visitors to Florence unjustly overlook. Highlights include: Masaccio's austere Trinità in the left nave; Giotto's superb crucifix hanging over the central aisle; the Strozzi chapel, entirely frescoed by Nardo di Cione and Andrea Orcagna; Filippino Lippi's frescoes in the Filippo Strozzi chapel; and Ghirlandaio's fresco cycle in the sanctuary behind the high altar. Reached via a separate entrance to the left of the church, the Green Cloister takes its name from the pigment used in the frescoes of scenes from Genesis by Paolo Uccello, with their giddy, experimental perspective. More fine frescoes, firmly in the Gothic tradition, are on display in the Spanish Chapel, which was used by the entourage of Eleonora of Toledo, wife of Cosimo I. While you're in the area, visit the nearby Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella.

Open Monday through Thursday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Fridays and Sundays.

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