The unadorned 18th c. facade of this Augustinian church conceals one of the purest pieces of Renaissance architecture. It was begun in 1444 by Brunelleschi and, following his death (1446), carried on by Antonio Manetti, Giovanni da Gaiole and Salvi d’Andrea. The latter was also responsible for the construction of the cupola (1479-81), which had again been designed by Brunelleschi.
The solid and elegant campanile was a creation of Baccio d’Agnolo (16th c.). The interior, divided into nave and side-aisles with splendid monolithic columns topped by Corinthian capitals, imitates the basic design of S. Lorenzo, with the addition of the central and with the extension of the side-isles into the smaller arms of the cross vault. Around the perimeter of the church are forty semicircular apsidioles, occupied by aristocratic chapels.
The main altar was designed and built by Giovanni Caccini (1599-1607) with the assistance of Gherardo Silvani and Agostino Ubaldini. It is a baroque complex of noteworthy complexity; note the elaborate architecture, the inlays, the sculptures, the marble screen and the baldachin, covered by a fretwork cupola. In two of the chapels in the right arm of the cross vault, note a panel by Filippo Lippi and a marble sarcophagus attributed to Bernardo Rosselino. The left arm has preserved it original 15th c. flavour.
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Chiesa di Santo Spirito
Piazza S. Spirito (055 210030).
Open 10am-noon, 4-5.30pm, holidays and Sun 11.30am-noon. Closed on Wed afternoon.