Where are Florence’s most important churches?

Florence’s churches are scattered around the city, some no longer in service but still displayed proudly as civic museums. So, where can you see Florence’s most important churches? 

Being the Catholic capital of the world, Italy is home to some of the most beautiful churches that lay testimony to the country’s rich and varied history… And Florence is no exception to it. From the groundbreaking churches like Santa Croce and the Cathedral to lesser-known landmarks like San Miniato, Santa Maria Novella, and San Lorenzo, let’s have a look at these stunning churches and where are they located.

Churches in Florence

  • Santa Maria Del Fiore: The Cathedral

    Address: 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

    Most of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance had a hand in creating Florence’s monumental architectural icon, the cathedral complex of the church, baptistery, and campanile. Glorious, grand and built with the idea to be visible from everywhere in the city, The Cathedral is a true Italian icon designed innovatively by Filippo Brunelleschi! Santa Maria del Fiore is located in the historic center of Florence and sits on the city’s main Piazza.

    The “Duomo”, as the Cathedral is called, is one of the biggest churches in the world and features the best of Renaissance architecture and art. While the façade of this spectacular church features white, pink, and green marble patterns, inside, you’ll find great artworks and paintings to cherish for a lifetime. Because this is the most popular thing to see in Florence, the lines for admission can be long. Too avoid these, and be sure of seeing everything in the great cathedral, make sure you purchase skip-the-line tickets in advance.

  • Santa Croce

    Address: Piazza di Santa Croce, 16, 50122 Firenze FI

    Here’s another famous church that is situated on the Piazza di Santa Croce, about 800 meters south-east of the Duomo and is only second to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Also known as the “Temple of Italian Glories”, Santa Croce is a stunning Gothic church that boasts of numerous well-adorned tombs of important people like Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Rossini and many others.

    In addition to these claims to fame, this Franciscan Church is stunning in its grandly symmetrical design and its spacious interior, more open than others of its time. To find the tombs of Galilieo, Michelangelo, and Rossini, look to the church’s side aisles. Michelangelo is on the right along with the muses sculptured by Vasari to mourn him. Also in the south aisle is a monument to Dante, erected in 1829, 508 years after his death. With such worthy occupants laying to rest in this stunning interior, it would be a shame to miss it on your visit to Florence.

  • Santa Maria Novella

    Address: Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 18, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

    One of the most important Gothic churches in Italy, Santa Maria Novella is located near the train station and is quite easy to be found. The church was built in the 14th century and houses extraordinary works of art, including Giotto’s crucifix, Masaccio’s Trinità, and a fresco of Ghirlandaio. The church’s dramatic facade of inlaid coloured marble makes it a focal point of the large square extends out of the front of it, whilst the interior shows elements of both Romanesque-Gothic and Renaissance styles. Look out for the rose-window, the oldest in Florence.

    To the left of the church facade is the entrance to the cloisters and chapels of the former convent, where the Green Cloister takes its name from the green tones of Paolo Uccello’s frescoes of Old Testament scenes. But the highlight is the Spanish chapel, where Andrea di Bonaiuto’s frescoes are displayed, being among 14th-century Italy’s greatest works of art. You can easily spend a couple of hours delving into the church’s stunning façade adorned with green and white marble patterns in addition to savoring magnificent artworks!

  • San Lorenzo

    Address: Piazza di San Lorenzo, 9, 50123 Firenze FI

    Situated at the beating heart of the city’s main market district, San Lorenzo is one of the oldest churches in Florence and was built in 393 by St. Ambrose. While harmonious Renaissance architecture and the tombs of Lorenzo and Medici are San Lorenzo’s main highlights, it is perhaps the most important place in Florence that’s associated with Michelangelo. Here you will find his intricately master-crafted sculptures for the tombs and chapels that are undoubtedly the most spectacular parts of the church, despite never being finished.

    The Medici family definitely didn’t do things by halves, with the church itself being a painting ground for top-rated artists of the Renaissance era. Brunelleschi managed to create the ideal of Renaissance architecture under one roof with the help of Donatello, Lippi, and other masters of art. Their combined artistry, along with Michelangelo’s tombs, make San Lorenzo one of the top places to visit in Florence.

Related article: Where to see Florence’s best art?

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