Basilica Di San Miniato Al Monte, Florence

Currently Open
  • Address: Via delle Porte Sante, 34, 50125 Florence, Italy
  • Timings: 07:00 am - 07:00 pm Details
  • Phone: +39-552342731
  • Time Required: 01:00 Hrs
  • Tags: Church, Religious Site, Historical Site, Family And Kids, Architecture
  • Map

About Basilica Di San Miniato Al Monte, Florence

One of Tuscany’s greatest examples of Romansque architecture soars above the city from atop one of its highest hills. According to legend, Minas, the Armenian prince after whom the church is named was sentenced to be eaten by a panther by Roman Emperor Decius. When the panther refused to eat him, Minas was beheaded instead. Not letting that deter him, Minas picked up his head and walked up to this hill to his hermitage. In the 8th century, a chapel was built here, but the building you see today was begun in 1013.

Highlights of the church are:

  • A choir raised above the crypt.
  • The 15th century Chapel of the Crucifix by Michelozzo.
  • The 13th century mosaic of Christ between the Virgin and St Minias.
  • Frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi in the vault.
  • The crypt, which is thought to contain the bones of Minas himself.
  • The 13th century mosaics on the apse.
  • The magnificent fresco cycle on St Benedict’s life on the sacristy.
  • Memorial to Cardinal James of Lusitania, who was a Portuguese ambassador to Florence.

There’s a monastery next to the church, run by the Olivetan monks, though it used to be Benedictine. Today, the monks are famous for the liqueurs, honey and herbal teas they produce to sell at their on-site shop. Around the complex, you’ll see the wall Michelangelo built during the siege of Florence. There’s a cemetery full important dignitaries there.

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How To reach Basilica Di San Miniato Al Monte by Public Transport

  • Bus 12 and 13 stop S.Miniato Al M. 01

Restaurants Near Basilica Di San Miniato Al Monte

  • La Breppa
  • Osteria San Niccolo
  • EnotecaPinchiorri

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Basilica Di San Miniato Al Monte, Florence Reviews

  • Not just the best view of Florence but also a beautiful and peaceful church. Sunset over the city was magnificent, as are the incredible mosaics inside. Guidebooks etc generally only refer to it as a lookout or historic building but it is actually still a very active religious and spiritual place unlike so many other 'historic churches'. A wonderful place for contemplation and to feel the weight of time and history.

  • Great church to visit in Florence, it is a remarkable highlight that escapes the hordes of tourists from downtown. It is very ancient, with stunning frescoes that you can enjoy almost alone. It also possesses the oldest Meridiana in Europe, but few people manage to spot it, just ask around. The sweets that are sold in the shop are very tasty and a good way of contributing to the upkeep of the building. Sunsets here are beautiful, with a great view over the city.

  • As well as visiting the church we knew that the location was "the" view of Florence. It is the one you always see with Il Duomo and Brunelleschi's dome, the palazzi and the river. A sunny morning is the perfect time. And yes, the view is lovely. So was the sun on a winter's morning. Then we visited the Basilica. It is a building that has a geometrically patterned green and white marble façade. Saint Miniato was an Armenian soldier who refused to deny his Christianity. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to kill him via a number of methods he was decapitated on the banks of the Arno. However, he gathered up his head and walked up the hill where he was then buried - apparently. A church was built on that site in the 8th century. It fell into disrepair and construction of the present church began in 1018. It was very dark and very cold inside the church. Eventually our eyes grew accustomed and our teeth stopped chattering. St Miniato's remains are in the crypt, the ceiling of which was decorated in the 14th century with frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi. There is a beautiful 14th century apse mosaic. To give an idea of how dark it was photos were 30 second exposures. The two-colour marble of the façade is continued as a patterned 'carpet' inside the nave and includes a circular zodiac. The sacristy is Gothic in design and contains wonderful 14th century frescoes in the tradition of Giotto by Spinello Aretino. Emerging into the light and warmth (relative to fridge-like church) we headed straight to a wooden seat in the sun. It was breezy and not too warm. Then we investigated the cemetery peering into the family mausoleums. If you want photos of the façade of the church go in the later afternoon when the sun is in the west.

  • Beautiful church. Friars Are friendly. You can get very close to true frescos. Beautiful views of Florence.

  • A quick jaunt from Piazzale Michelangelo; the Abbazia is very gorgeous in the light of the sunset. I was able to make it in time for the 1730 service as I have never witnessed one before. It was very tranquil to watch. I do recommend you dress accordingly and do not leave the crypt once the service has started. If you do not have the time, then just stay in the basilica, you will be able to hear it there. The little shop right outside the doors is filled with all of the products the monks have made. The monks make famous liqueurs, honey, candles, and herbal teas - and I think I've bought at least one of each. They accept credit cards.

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