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    Santa Maria Novella, the church to be discovered in Florence

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    Aina Prat Blasi

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    Santa Maria Novella is the name of the most important railway station in Firenze, and the back of the church can be seen clearly as you leave the railway. The Dominican complex is a museum that is certainly worth visiting for the masterpieces that are enclosed within the ancient walls. The entrance ticket costs 5 euros (if you are Florentine it is free) and allows you to visit the church, the cloisters and the Cappellone degli Spagnoli. The convent of Santa Maria Novella dates back to 1279, when the Dominicans built their church. Inside the Gothic-style basilica there are very important frescoes: those of Domenico Ghirlandaio, in the choir, they tell the stories of Maria with beautiful characters, especially the female figures and they are my favorites; but in the left aisle there is also an extraordinary Trinity of Masaccio, where perspective is strictly applied.

    Inside the church, the central nave is dominated by the Crucifix of Giotto painted on wood at the end of the thirteenth century, and in the Gondi chapel there is a wooden corcifix carved by Brunelleschi.

    Leaving the church here are the Cloisters: the green one is frescoed by Paolo uccello, unfortunately very deteriorated; and then there is the so-called Cappellone degli Spagnoli, which however was the Chapter House of the Convent and is completely frescoed by Andrea da Firenze, a disciple of Orcagna, with stories of the Church. In short, there are three centuries of painting overall, and what a painting! Italian and a low flow of tourists, if you are intolerant of crowds. I also recommend a visit to the Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, which was part of the convent complex and has its entrance in via della Scala. It is very old, with historical furnishings and products unchanged over the centuries.

    Not really low cost, but absolutely worth a visit.

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