The church of Santa Maria Novella, Florence

by | Nov 15, 2016


It is plain from the outside, without much ornamentation and hence easily blends into the surroundings. Santa Maria Novella is the first cathedral of the city and is the city’s main Dominican church. The church, cloisters and the convent make up the basilica. It was funded by rich Dominican families and designed by two Dominican friars. The facade was commissioned to Leone Battista Alberti and the architecture is an example of Gothic Renaissance.

The interiors are a blast of colour. The large stained glass windows detailed intricately draw the eye instantly. The light streaming in creates colourful patterns all over the black and white checker-board floor. The relatively dark interiors make the colourful light beams all the more dramatic. The dynamic natural art mesmerises you for a long time. You can then make your way around the church to explore the famous and beautiful pieces of art created by many famous people. The church looks even bigger than is because of the painted arches.

The green cloister, the main cloister and the cloister of the dead adjoin the church. The frescoes in the green cloister were painted with green clay when they were first made. It leads to the refrectory and from there the main cloister. The cloister of the dead contains a series of tombs of prominent family members of the influential Florentine Dominican families and has marble tomb slabs as the flooring. The basilica provides quiet respite in the middle of what is now a very busy area and is an oasis of peace and tranquility in the middle of an urban area with a train station, shops and busy intersections.