Private Tours of Italy Ideas: Churches in Florence

cathedral Rutger Blom

There are many things to do in Florence: sightseeing, shopping, dining in style. A walk around the city’s stunning churches while on your private tour of Italy will help you to discover its glorious past.

There are more than 200 churches in Florence. For centuries, they have been not only places for solemn prayers but also means of artistic expression for some of the most prominent masters. They reflect the best traditions of Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styles.

The Florence cathedral, also known as the church of Santa Maria del Fiore, is the 4th largest in the world, after St. Peter’s in Rome, St. Paul’s in London and the Duomo in Milan. Its exterior is decorated with a precious mix of pink, white and green marble. Make sure you climb 463 steps to the top of the cupola to admire the spectacular view over Florence.

Churches in Florence
Church of Santa Maria del Fiore

No visit to the city would be complete without seeing the Basilica of San Lorenzo. Consecrated in 393, it is the oldest church in the city. It was the parish church of the Medici and many members of the family are buried here. In the basilica you will find masterpieces created by the famous Michelangelo and Donatello, Filippo Lippi and Domenico Ghirlandaio.

Churches in Florence
Fresco fragment in the Basilica of San Lorenzo

The opulent Baroque Chiesa Ognissanti used to be the family church of the great explorer and navigator Amerigo Vespucci. Giotto, Donatello and Boticelli painted magnificent frescoes here, many of which are housed in the Uffizi Gallery.

The 13th century Basilica of Santa Croce is one of the best examples of Italian Gothic architecture in Florence. The great Giotto worked here too: he painted the Bardi Chapel and the Peruzzi Chapel. The Basilica is often called “The Temple of Italy’s Glory” as many famous artists and thinkers are buried here: Donatello, Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, Niccolò Machiavelli and many others.

The Church of Santo Spirito is a gem of Renaissance architecture in the city. It is simple unadorned façade hides 38 exquisite chapels with splendid frescoes painted by different artists between the 15 and 17th centuries.  The church is famous for a wooden crucifix created by Michelangelo when he was 17 years old.

Churches in Florence
Church of Santo Spirito

 Photos by: Rutger Blom, Web Gallery of Art, Randy Connolly.