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.
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.
Please note that there is often a long line to enter into the Duomo of Florence. If the line is too long you will not visit the interior of the Cathedral on tour, and your guide will give you tips on the best time to return to avoid standing in line.
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