Florence Hotel Guelfa · Surroundings · Church of Santa Maria Novella
The Church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence was founded by the Dominican Friars and is one of the oldest, not to mention picturesque, churches in the city. The church we see today was built on the site where the church called Santa Maria delle Vigne once stood. Construction starter in 1246 according to a Gothic design by two friars; Sisto Fiorentino and Ristoro da Campi but they did not live to see the majority of it completed nearly one hundred years later in 1360.
The church was consecrated in 1420 but still much was to be done. The Italian architect Leone Battista Alberti continued work on the churches exterior trying to adhere to its original design, building around the Gothic structure instead of demolishing it using black and white marble in the façade.
The interior of Santa Maria Novella is illuminated with natural sunlight that reflect off of the colored arches and the high altar. Its vast size was considered in the plan with the aim of preaching to large congregations. A very unique play on optics was used in the illusion that when looking into the church from the main door, once visualizes a longer that real distance to the main altar due to the distance between the placement of the columns and arches.
The inside of the church holds a number of precious works of art to admire like the crucifix done by Giotto, a painting by Masaccio and other frescoes as well.