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Written by Akshaya Devi on April 24, 2020 Share on

Take a walk down the Renaissance lane by visiting these basilicas in Florence

When you stroll past the iconic Ponte Vecchio into the medieval piazzas of Florence and happen to see jewel box art galleries, step inside. At first, you might marvel at the glittering facades, but then you see the more ornate interiors and realize they weren’t the best part. These buildings mounted in the heart of the city, they are Florence’s basilicas. And they differ from cathedrals and churches. A cathedral is run by a bishop, whereas a basilica is a church with special privileges granted by the pope.

The age-old basilicas in Florence are not just sacred places of worship. They have donned several hats during the medieval Roman times — a royal place for administrative affairs, a meeting hall for politicians and then some. Take a look at the best basilicas to visit in Florence to soak up history and art.

Best basilicas to visit in Florence

1. Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

Image credits: Wikimedia

Situated just near Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station, it’s hard to miss this basilica. Designed by seven different artists including Giorgio Vasari and Filippo Brunelleschi, it took almost 80 years to complete the construction of Santa Maria Novella, and it’s easy to see why. You could see the traces of Renaissance, Gothic, Classical and Romanesque architectural movements under one roof (literally, look up the dome and you’ll see).

Timings: Monday to Thursday 9am – 5pm, Fridays 11am – 5:30pm, Sundays and government holidays 1pm – 5pm

Location: Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 18, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

2. Santa Maria del Fiore

Image credits: Unsplash

Widely renowned as Florence Duomo, Santa Maria del Fiore is easily the most recognizable landmarks in Florence if not in whole Italy. The state-of-the-art Gothic architecture was built way ago in the 13th century and the awe-inspiring mosaic designs are a visual treat to anyone who’s interested in history and art.

Timings: Monday to Sunday 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

Location: Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

3. Basilica of Santa Croce

Image credits: Pixabay

Other than the fact that Basilica of Santa Croce was a very famous Catholic church of its times, world-famous personalities like Michelangelo and Galileo Galilei were buried here. How Galileo Galilei who was involved in the inquisition trial ended up getting buried here is a different story altogether.

Timings: Monday to Saturday 9:30 am – 5 pm, Sundays 2 pm – 5 pm

Location: Piazza di Santa Croce, 16, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

4. San Miniato al Monte

Image credits: Wikimedia

With a modest exterior and an ostentatious interior, San Miniato al Monte is one of the best basilicas to visit in Florence if you love picturesque artworks and a serene ambience. The Romanesque architecture was flourishing at the time of San Miniato’s construction and you can see it overpowering the other architectural styles it was blended with.

Timings: Monday to Sunday 9:30 am – 1 pm & 3:30 pm – 7 pm

Location: Via delle Porte Sante, 34, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Also Read: Italy Guide: Where to go and What to do in Italy

5. San Lorenzo

Image credits: Pixabay

One of the oldest basilicas and the tomb of many revered personalities of ancient Italy, San Lorenzo is a pleasant sight to behold even from afar. The brown tiled basilica goes well with the surrounding homes and the special part is, its construction was never really finished. Even then, it’s one of the most visited landmarks in Italy.

Timings: Monday to Sunday 10:00 am – 5 pm

Location: Piazza di San Lorenzo, 9, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy


Whenever you plan a visit to Rome, add these must-visit basilicas in your Rome itinerary.

Also Read: Visit All Italy by Rail

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