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Santo Spirito

This basilica boasts some of the best in Renaissance interior design, courtesy of Brunelleschi.

TravelCurious Tip

Right next to the church you will find Trattoria La Casalinga. Head there for some traditional Florentine fare, but go early — they don’t take reservations

The Basilica di Santo Spirito is found in the Oltrarno quarter of Florence, opening onto the Piazza Santo Spirito. A church was first built on this site in the 13th century. The locus was no stranger to drama: in a district where some of the richest and the poorest of Florence were thrown together, this politically explosive mix gave rise to sensational assassinations and numerous uprisings — many of which took place quite literally on the steps of the church.


However, after the Florentines defeated the Milanese in 1397 on the feast day of St Augustine it was decided that the church should be rebuilt to honour the saint. The renowned architect Brunelleschi was brought on board, and though he died before the church’s completion it seems to have been built more or less according to his designs. Its interior is considered to be one of Florence’s preeminent examples of Renaissance architecture.


Sideways

Brunelleschi’s designs included thirty eight niche-chapels running around the inside of the church walls. The left hand portion in particular contains some exceptionally complete examples of 15th century chapels, among them the Bini Capponi Chapel with Botticini’s St. Monica and the Augustinian Nuns. Another chapel in the transept contains grating through which the Frescobaldi family were able to hear the liturgy without having to leave their palazzo next door.


Body of Lies

Although possibly apocryphal, some say that the church’s crucifix was sculpted by a seventeen year old Michelangelo. He allegedly created it in exchange for being allowed to make anatomical studies of the corpses coming from the convent’s hospital.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Florence
Italian Cantucci
Step into a local restaurant's kitchen and watch a baking demonstration of homemade cantucci.
Finocchiona
Sample a deliciously fennel-spiced salami, Finocchiona.
Trattoria
Visit an authentic Italian trattoria, and taste one of their seasonal soups or stews.
Authentic Italian Gelato
Try real-deal Gelato – we promise you’ll never look at frozen treats the same way again!
Oltrarno Neighbourhood
Oltrarno means “beyond the Arno” and is now one of Florence's trendiest neighbourhoods.
Florentine Schiacciata
A traditional Florentine cake that can be found in every local pastry shop around the city.

Related Tours

Florentine Crafts and Antiques Private Walking Tour with Tickets
Explore the artisanal craftsmanship and backstreets of Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, on this behind the scenes, three-hour walking tour. On your private tour you will:

  • Enjoy the personalised attention of a private tour guide as you wander through the less well-known side streets and alleyways of Florence. 
  • Uncover Florence’s rich history of artisanship – from leather to paper marbling and meet the talented artisans along the way. 
  • Visit a highly specialised Jeweler and admire his magnificent handmade jewellery.
  • Learn the art of bookbinding and the craft of Florentine paper marbling.
  • Pop inside the Leather School of Florence, where you may catch local tanners at work.
  • Cross over the Ponte Vecchio to explore the Oltrarno area of Florence, known for its crafts and delicious local restaurants
  • Visit an array of local artisanal stores and workshops from instrument makers, to silversmiths, and cobblers who still make shoes by hand! 
  • Enter the Church of Santo Spirito, known for its perfect proportions and home to a wooden crucifix made by Michelangelo at the age of 18.
  • End the tour in Piazza Santo Spirito surrounded by its many restaurants, bars and cafes where you can sit down for a delicious lunch.
  • Please note the Church of Santo Spirito is closed on Wednesdays. Lunch is not included. 
Florence is justly famed for being the “cradle of the Renaissance”. It was the birthplace and home of many luminaries from Dante to Brunelleschi, from the Medici to Michelangelo. You’ll find some of the greatest works of art, pottery, and sculpture by the world’s most famous artists inside the Uffizi and Accademia and many other galleries – but Florence is also famous for her more humble craftsmen. On this private, three-hour walking tour, you'll go under the bonnet of Florence. Your expert local guide will show you the less well-known streets and alleys and artisanal districts of the city. You’ll get to know the artisans, tanners, jewellers, papermakers, silversmiths, cobblers and many others as you explore the city from a different, more local and truly fascinating perspective. 

You’ll visit a plethora of markets, shops, stalls, schools and workshops and have the chance to watch these specialist experts at work and ask them about their livelihoods – many will have a generational family history of their craft. 

Crossing the Ponte Vecchio – with its delightful array of antique shops and stalls – you’ll enter the piazza and Church of Santo Spirito. Your guide will take you on a short tour of this fascinating and much-overlooked church – that houses a crucifix by an 18-year-old Michelangelo. Rather gruesomely, it was in the basement of this church that the early Renaissance artists would dissect cadavers to draw from. This was how Michelangelo became an expert anatomist! Your guide will then show you the trendy neighbourhood beyond the church and there you have a huge choice of local restaurants and cafes in which to sit down to a well-deserved lunch and drink. 
Private Food and Wine Tasting Tour of Florence
Experience the delicious local cuisine and wines of Florence on this all-inclusive foodie tour through the hidden gems of the city called the Cradle of the Renaissance. On your private tour you will: 

  • Enjoy the personalised attention of a private tour guide, who will manage all aspects of your all-inclusive food tour.
  • Step away from the beaten tourist path and explore the pretty Oltrarno foodie neighbourhood, a favourite with locals. 
  • Meet the local custodians, sellers and producers of Florence’s proud culinary traditions, and wine experts as you walk your way through this tasting extravaganza. 
  • Taste a selection of local Florentine and Tuscan delicacies such as the "schiacciata" and other traditional sweets. 
  • Stop in a wine shop for a curated Tuscan wine tasting accompanied by tasty cold cuts and crostini
  • Step inside a cheese specialist to explore the best cheeses Tuscany has to offer - also accompanied by a glass of wine
  • Refresh your palate with delicious gelato, in non-touristy gelateria – one of Florence’s best-kept secrets!
  • Arrive on this tour hungry, and plan to leave this tour full!
No holiday to Italy, the land of sun, art, culture and glorious food and wine, is complete without this VIP food tour through the hidden gems of Florence, home of the Renaissance and symbolic of Italy’s culinary passion! 

With your local expert guide, you will step away from the tourist hotspots and navigate the foodie neighbourhoods and quaint streets of Florence, as you sample a huge array of Florentine and Tuscan specialities from mouth-watering cold cuts and cheeses to delicious wines and classic Italian dolce (sweet foods) including – of course – a classic gelato. 

Your tour will begin across the Arno river in Piazza Santo Spirito – a favourite local haunt of the young Michelangelo, and now an area trendy with students and locals alike. Your guide will take you to fascinating streets, shops, bars and piazzas of the Oltrarno district where you’ll learn and taste all the best gastronomic traditions Florence and Tuscany can offer. You’ll have a chance to chat with the expert producers and sellers, chefs and sommeliers, of these flavoursome delicacies – learning about the history of the food and the passionate families that have worked in the business for generations. Just be sure to arrive on an empty stomach! 
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