The Badia Fiorentina was commissioned for the Benedictines by Willa, mother of Marquis Ugo of Tuscany, in 978. In 1285 the church was completely restructured by Arnolfo di Cambio, who placed the apse towards Via del Proconsolo and the entrance to the church across from it, within the monastic complex.
Towards the end of the 1400s the monastery was expanded, and the Chiostro degli Aranci and the portico in the atrium were built. In 1627 the church was again restructured, by Matteo Segalini. Arnolfo's 13th century plan was reduced to a Greek Cross, the orientation of the church was rotated 90 degrees, a new choir was built on the church's southern side, and the entrance was shifted to what had been the 15th century atrium.
The flank of the church paralleling Via del Proconsolo was thus the back of the 12th century structure. The present entrance, which was opened in 1494, is framed by a 19th century copy of the doorway built by Benedetto da Rovezzano, who also did the internal portico with the Corinthian columns.
Within the church there is the Pandolfini Chapel, the space for which was obtained by restructuring and expanding the ancient church of Saint Stephen, where Giovanni Boccaccio held the first public reading of Dante's Divine Comedy. Within the Badia, in the left transept (what was originally the wall of the apse), the present inlayed cantoria englobes the main altarpiece Giorgio Vasari painted in 1568 to substitute for an altarpiece by Giotto that is now in the Uffizi.
Under the cantoria is Mino da Fiesole's marble and porphyry tomb of Marquis Ugo di Toscana, who died in 1001. The entrance to the Chiostro delle Aranci is to the right of the presbytery. One of Florence's most striking Early Renaissance monuments, it was built by Bernardo Rossellino between 1432 and 1438. To the right, as one exits the church, is the Apparition of the Virgin to Saint Bernard, a masterpiece Filippino Lippi painted in 1485.
Where: Via del Proconsolo - Firenze
Opening hours: 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.