Florence 06

Florence Episode 06 Santa Maria Novella

Exotic visitors and a trio of medieval painters

When Dominican monks arrived in Florence in the 13th century, they built Santa Maria Novella and it has an exotic history. Hear how it hosted the 1439 Council of Florence, which attracted all manner of visitors from faraway lands and how in the 1560s Eleanor of Toledo arrived to marry Duke Cosimo di Medici. She promptly had the Friar’s Chapter House redecorated to make her feel at home and renamed it the Spanish Chapel. Many well-known artists are associated with the church and so here we end with short biographies of three of them – Cimabue, Giotto and Lippi – along with pointers to help you seek out their work in Florence today.