This monument stands out on the horizon on the foothills to the south of the river Arno and with the Baptistery, is a masterpiece of Florentine Romanesque architecture.
The facade, begun in the XII century, and concluded in the XIII, follows the Florentine tradition, with geometric patterns created with white and green marble (the latter from Prato). The lower section has the classic five arches that alternate with three doors.
Above, on the pediment, there are nine arches surmounted by symbolic figures dating to the thirteenth century. In 1401 a gilded copper eagle, symbol of the Guild of Merchants, which had administered the church since 1288, was added to the pediment.
The interior, which has been restored and altered in several points, is divided into three aisles by alternating columns and pilasters, and terminates with a raised presbytery built over the crypt. The capitals of the columns of the crypt are in part Roman and in part Romanesque; some are marble and some stone.
The central nave has marble floor mosaics reminiscent of those of Rome's early basilicas, and exposed ceiling beams. Just before the crypt is the elegant Cappella del Crocifisso built by Michelozzo in 1448, which has a glazed barrel-vaulted ceiling by Luca della Robbia.
To the right of the church is the Palazzo dei Vescovi, the summer residence of Florence's bishops until 1553, when it was used as a barracks by Cosimo I; in 1594 it became part of the monastery of San Miniato.
For any information:
Chiesa di San Miniato al Monte
Via Monte alle Croci (055 2342731).
Open Winter - 8.am-noon, 3-6pm, Summer – 8am-7.30pm. Holidays and Sun, Winter 3-8pm, Summer 8am7.30pm.