The Retirees return to Florence – Santa Maria Novella (pictured below) & Santa Maria Assunta of Badia Florentina and others

From the top of Palazzo Veechio we had the benefit of the view over the old town we were able to identify some sites of the old town that we had not located. One was the church of Santa Maria Assunta of Badia Florentina. The Badìa Fiorentina is an abbey and church now home to the Fraternity of Jerusalem situated on the Via del Proconsolo in the centre of Florence. Dante supposedly grew up across the street in what is now called the ‘Casa di Dante’, rebuilt in 1910 as a museum to Dante. They were celebrating Palm Sunday so we were unable to enter camera in hand. Below you can see the bell tower and the door below in the courtyard.

With not much action there, we then walked across to the other side of the old town to Santa Maria Novella (near the train station) to view the museum. The outside of the church had something different about it and today I worked out that there is a sundial on its facade. There are two entrances and we chose the courtyard entrance passing family niches and some headstones to the ticket office.

On entering through those huge doors we found ourselves in a cavernous nave of the church. The vast interior is based on a basilica plan, designed as a Latin cross, and is divided into a nave, two aisles with stained-glass windows and a short transept. The large nave is 100 metres long and gives an impression of austerity. The interior also contains Corinthian columns that were inspired by Greek and Roman classical models. The stained-glass windows date from the 14th and 15th century and some stained glass windows have been damaged in the course of centuries and have been replaced. The one on the façade, a depiction of the Coronation of Mary, dates from the 14th century.

The pulpit has a particular historical significance, since it was from this pulpit that the first verbal attack was made on Galileo Galilei, leading eventually to his indictment. On the whole, it was well and truly worth the €5 entrance fee.

The courtyard of the former abbey is full of tombs and frescos dating back centuries and the former refectory included a version of the Last Supper