The church of Santo Spirito was founded in 1250 and received its present form in the 15th century when it was built after a model by Brunelleschi who had conceived it as a twin to the church of San Lorenzo. The facade was never finished and is still only a rough plastered wall with an undefined silhouette at the top.
The fine dome was designed by Brunelleschi, while the soaring bell tower is by Baccio d'Agnolo (1503). The interior is one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture.
The colonnade moves forward in a succession of light arches supported by 35 elegant Corinthian columns in pietra serena, forming what is no other than an internal portico. The ground plan of the 40 semicircular chapels repeats the semicircular rhythm of the arches.
The internal facade is comprised of three large doors and was made by Salvi d'Andrea (1483) on Brunelleschi's design. Behind the high altar is a Crucifix that may be an early work by Michelangelo. In the right crossing are various important examples of painting: in the third chapel the "Madonna del Soccorso" by an unknown 15th-century painter; in the fifth chapel, Filippino Lippi's famous Madonna and Child with Saints. Other fine works are in the left crossing; in the first chapel a Madonna and Child with Angels and Saints by Raffaellino del Garbo; in the second, Saint Monica Establishing the Rule of the Augustinian Nuns by Francesco Botticini; in the third, a delicate Madonna and Child with Saints by Cosimo Rosselli and, in the fourth, a marble altar by Andrea Sansovino. Other important works are also in the apse chapels: in the first is the Madonna with Saints by Lorenzo di Credi; in the third the Madonna and Child with Four Saints by Maso di Banco.
Entry to the Vestibule and the Sacristy is near the organ. The former is by Andrea Sansovino and the latter has a fine octagonal ground plan by Giuliano da Sangallo and Cronaca (1456).
The vestibule leads to the First Cloister in 17th-century style with frescoes of the same period. From here to the Second Cloister, built by Ammannati and frescoed by Poccetti (the cloister is not at present open to the public since it is occupied by the recruiting center).
Entry to the nearby Refectory is from the piazza. It contains the imposing fresco of the Last Supper by Nardo di Cione.
Where: Piazza Santo Spirito - Firenze
Tuesday/sunday 9:30-12:30 am/4:00-7:00 pm
Web site: www.firenzeturismo.it