San Miniato al Monte


The stairs leading from Viale Galileo Gallilei to San Miniato

Michelozzo's free-standing chapel

San Miniato al Monte is a Romanesque Church, set on the peak of the hill that overlooks Florence and winds down to the Piazzale Michelangelo. St. Minias was a Christian martyr from the Holy Lands who met his fate at the Roman amphitheater on the current site of the Piazza della Signoria. It is believed that his body picked up his decapitated head and walked into the hills; the church is built on the spot where he collapsed. Over the years the Church has changed stewardship. It was initially run by the Benedictines before being taken over by the reform-minded monks of Cluny. Presently it is run by the Olivetans. The photo to the left shows the approach to the church; by enlarging the picture you will get a better glimpse of the Frescoes on the wall of San Miniatogolden mosaic above the entrance, as well as the gilded copper statue on top. The eagle, carrying a bale of cloth, is the symbol of the Arte di Calimala, the wool importer's guild which supported the church in the Middle Ages. San Miniato al Monte isView of Florence from the steps of San Miniato equally beautiful inside. In the nave of the church is a free-standing chapel created by Michelozzo to house a miraculous crucifix. (photo to the upper right) A lovely inlaid floor incorporates zodiac and animal themes, and the wooden ceiling is supported by Roman and Byzantine columns, restored in the 1800's. The apse features mosaics of the Virgin and St. Minias, and  mosaics of Christian figures line the walls (photo lower left). In addition to the nave, the church features an elaborate crypt, a sacristy, and the chapel of the Cardinal of Portugal. The San Miniato al Monte offers a beautiful view of Florence from the top of the church steps. (photo lower right)