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Chiesa di S. Felice


This tiny Gothic church just south of the Pitti Palace has a High Renaissance facade by Michelozzo (1457) and a Crucifixion over the high altar recently attributed to Giotto. The church is mentioned in documents dating to 1066.

The present building dates to the 1400s, though there are traces of an earlier Romanesque structure. It was subsequently modified in the 15th and 16th centuries and restored after a fire in 1926.

The façade has a sculpted doorway, two lateral windows, and a central rosette. The windows in the right wall of the church, which flanks Via Mezzetta, are Gothic, while the lateral door and stairs date to the early 18th century.

The interior was built in a number of phases. The first half of the church is divided into three aisles with cross vaults that support the choir built between 1578 and 1590. The columns supporting the vaults are Doric.

The second half still displays some of the earlier structure. The ceiling trusses were restored after the 1926 fire, and the windows that were reopened during the restoration. The church also has frescos spanning the entire period from the early 1400s to the turn of the century.

At no. 8 on the piazza is the entrance to the Casa Guidi, where from 1846 English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning lived with her husband, Robert, moving in just after their secret marriage. When the unification of Italy became official in Florence, Elizabeth recorded the momentous event in a famous poem, "Casa Guidi Windows": "I heard last night a little child go singing / 'Neath Casa Guidi windows, by the church, / O bella libertà, O bella!" Mrs. Browning died in this house on June 18, 1861.

For any information:

Chiesa di S. Felice
Piazza S.Felice (055 221706).
Open 8am –noon, 4-6pm.
Admission: free.

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