The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is generally not among the top-10 of the places to visit in Florence and it is a shame. We strongly recommend you to visit it. From the architectural point of view it is one of the most important churches in Gothic style in Tuscany.
The construction works began in 1221 by the Dominican friars Sisto and Ristoro. In 1300 began the construction of the lower part of marble facade which was completed by the middle of the century, in the typically Florentine Romanesque-Gothic style. It was executed by the Dominican architect, Iacopo Talenti da Nipozzano, while the upper part was completed a hundred years later, in 1470 by Leon Battista Alberti. Its central portal and the upper part with oculus, tympanum and side scrolls are extraordinary elegant.
The facade is not only the oldest of the churches in Florence, but also the only original designed for the church.
The interior part of the Basilica looks spacious thanks to the colored arches in the center. It contains famous masterpieces: the Trinità of Masaccio, the frescoes of Ghirlandaio in the Tornabuoni Chapel and the Crucifix of Giotto.
In fact, many works of art were commissioned to decorate the Basilica. Although some of the works are kept in the Uffizi but nowadays there are still a lot of masterpieces which certainly deserve to be visited.
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