The Basilica of San Miniato al Monte is one of the finest examples of Florentine Romanesque architecture. It is located on a hill to the southeast of the historical center of Florence, close to Piazzale Michelangelo, and rises on top of the hill.
The structure was constructed between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. It contained works of great value, such as the chapel of the Cardinal of Portugal and the splendid frescoes by Spinello Aretino in the sacristy depict the stories of St. Benedict. Both of these works can be found in the same room.
THINGS TO DO AT BASILICA OF SAN MINATO AL MONTE:
• When ascending the stairs, you will notice a monastery belonging to the Olivetan order immediately to the right of the basilica:
Delicate arches and a mosaic depicting Christ Between the Virgin Mary and Saint Miniato adorn the green-white marble facade, which probably started in the XI century. Michelozzo, Luca della Robbia, and Taddeo Gaddi are all represented here with their respective works.
A mosaic in the style of the Byzantine era can be found in the apse, and a work of marble mosaic art depicting the signs and animals of the zodiac can be found on the nave floor.
Mosaics can also be found in the church's choir and pulpit.
The tomb of Cardinal Iacopo di Lusitania, a member of the royal family of Portugal, can be found on the north wall of the structure.
• A distinctive feature of the Florentine architecture is the use of colored marble inlays on the facade of San Miniat:
The construction of the marble facade, which features a geometric pattern, most likely began around the year 1090; however, the upper parts date from the 12th century or later and were financed by the Florentine Arte di Calimala (cloth merchants' guild), who was responsible for the upkeep of the church beginning in 1288.
• The greater altar is located right next to it and rises above the crypt, which is the oldest part of the church:
It is believed that these are the remains of 'San Miniato,' the first person to sacrifice their life for the city of Florence. The crypt is the oldest part of the church, and legend has it that the high altar is where the remains of Saint Minias himself are buried (although there is evidence that these were removed to Metz before the church was even built). Frescoes painted by Taddeo Gaddi can be found inside the vaults.
Via delle Porte Sante, 34, Florence, Italy