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.


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
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.
Italian Cantucci
Step into a local restaurant's kitchen and watch a baking demonstration of homemade cantucci.
Sample a deliciously fennel-spiced salami, Finocchiona.
Visit an authentic Italian trattoria, and taste one of their seasonal soups or stews.

Related Tours

Discover Florence in a Day: Private Full-Day Walking Tour
Explore the best of Florence, the beautiful capital city of Tuscany on this full-day private tour with an expert guide. The birthplace of Dante and Michelangelo and ruled by the infamous Medici family, Florence is often called the Cradle of the Renaissance and is an open-air museum of beautiful Renaissance architecture, statues and monuments, cobbled streets, hidden gems down little-known side streets, world-famous galleries, sunny piazzas, gorgeous old bridges, and wonderful vistas. 

On your private tour, you will: 

  • Meet your guide outside the Hotel Minerva opposite the stunning facade of Basilica Santa Maria Novella, which lends its name to the train station nearby;
  • Walk to the famously vibrant San Lorenzo market, the indoor market selling fresh food and local produce, the lively outdoor market famous for its leather, pottery, and other souvenirs; 
  • See the famous Medici church and mausoleum the Basilica di San Lorenzo from the outside, one of the largest and oldest in Florence, designed by a number of leading architects including Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Michelangelo; 
  • Walk to the iconic Piazza Del Duomo in the heart of Florence, dominated by the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore with Brunelleschi’s famous dome, Giotto's Campanile, and the Baptistry; 
  • Learn all about these buildings, the architects, and the scandalous Pazzi conspiracy; 
  • Head to central Piazza della Repubblica to hear about Italy’s Risorgimento, and on to the Mercato del Porcellino where you’ll learn about the Florentine leather tradition which dates back to antiquity, and how the Florentines used the Arno river in the production process;
  • Pass by Dante’s House, and learn all about the life and work of this seminal Italian writer, famous for his epic poem The Divine Comedy; 
  • Explore the Santa Croce neighbourhood with the grand Basilica di Santa Croce at its heart - where Michelangelo is buried;
  • Enjoy a leisurely and well-deserved lunch break at a local restaurant (not included);
  •  Walk to Piazza dell Signoria with its impressive, muscular marble statues including a replica of David, and the Palazzo Vecchio the historic political centre of Florence;
  • Admire the elegant Uffizi Gallery buildings, a prime example of 16th-century Italian architecture;
  • Walk over the famous Ponte Vecchio, uniquely lined with shops it was the only bridge over the Arno river until 1218, and see if you can spot the secret Vasari Corridor;
  • See the grand exterior of the Renaissance Pitti Palace, once the official residence of the Medici Family;
  • Visit the magnificent Basilica of Santo Spirito, one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture by the famous  architect Filippo Brunelleschi (who designed the extraordinary dome of the Duomo among many other achievements) ;
  • Explore the Oltrarno district, Florence’s coolest neighbourhood, known for its artisanal shops and many bars and restaurants, a favourite hangout for the locals;
  • Enjoy a delicious Gelato on us at your guide's favourite gelateria!

Florence sits serenely on the Arno River in the heart of Tuscany and is known for its Renaissance beauty everywhere you look. 

On your private tour of this Renaissance city, home to some of the greatest names of all time from Michelangelo to the Medici, you’ll explore all the most notable highlights, including the Duomo, with Brunelleschi’s Dome, which took 140 years to complete, and the Baptistry of St John, built over 70 years and named after the Saint Protector of Florence- San Giovanni. 

You’ll hear all about the lives, accomplishments, and scandals of the families and artists that made Florence, as you wander the quaint cobbled streets, gazing at magnificent buildings, glorious piazzas and spectacular statues.

Admire views of the Ponte Vecchio and the Arno, and hear about life in modern Florence as you walk through the vibrant markets that have been going since medieval times, and end with an orientation around the trendy Oltrarno area, filled with artisanal shops and lively bars. Enjoy a delicious gelato with your guide who will be only too happy to help you with dinner/shopping/sightseeing recommendations.  

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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