Santa Maria Novella, Florence -

Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella is a beautiful church in Florence, Italy. It is located very close to the railway station named after it. The church has a magnificent facade inlaid with green and white marble. The price of admission includes the church itself with its amazing paintings, the museum, and the grounds which you should stroll through and admire.

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The Interior

The interior of Santa Maria Novella has a central nave and two side aisles adorned by Gothic piers. It is known as one of the most important Gothic churches in Tuscany because of its architecture. The exterior is by Fra Jacopo Talenti and Leon Battista Alberti. The interior holds extraordinary works of art including Masaccio’s Trinità and Giotto’s Crucifix, among others. The inside is huge and looks even longer than it is due to the clever coloring of the central arches. Look below at these amazing fresco walls in each of the side alters:


AMAZING Paintings of Santa Maria Novella

Along the side aisles, you can find all the paintings. What is so unbelievable? They are displayed on hinges so you can see the frescoes behind each of the paintings. These frescoes were there long before the church acquired the paintings. In displaying them this way – you can still enjoy what’s behind the painting. Kudos to the caretakers of Santa Maria Novella that thought of this – clever idea!

Santa Maria Novella

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The Museum of Santa Maria Novella

The museum is composed of two separate cloisters – the Spanish Chapel, and the large refectory. The Green Cloister has frescoes by Paolo Uccello with scenes from the Old Testament. Unfortunately, some frescoes are in bad shape from being located outside in the elements, but can still be admired. Below are frescoes from the Refectory which are magnificent!

The other cloister, the Grand Cloister, has been home to the Marescialli school since 1920 and is closed to the public. The Grand Cloister is quite a large area with 56 arcades surrounding the internal courtyard corridor.

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Santa Maria Novella Grand Cloister

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Be Aware: This piazza is filled with Africans trying to sell you bracelets. They will ask you where you are from, pretend that they are interested in your story, and slip on a beaded bracelet. Money is expected. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m sure many are nice people – but they are very quick with their approach and will catch you off guard.

Previous posts for Our Italian Journey -

Churches in Italy | How They Compare to the USA

Santo Spirito Church, Florence

San Lorenzo, Florence

Editor’s Note:  This article was initially published on October 6, 2016, and was updated in February 2024 for accuracy and additional information.


  1. I adore the churches in Italy especially Santa Maria Novella.
    Great article. Thanks for reminding me how awesome this church is.

  2. Thanks for another great Italy update, we sure miss not being there;

    We love the Santa Maria Novella area and always stay near here in a hotel or apartment; great location glad you are still traveling and enjoying Italy; we love Florence;

    Have you toured all of the Medici buildings as well as the Pitti Palace tours; we splurged for the Firenze 3 day Pass a few years ago (a Rick Steves mention), I think it was get in everything (all museums, etc) w/o waiting; it was not cheap but a great way to see a lot of the smaller out of the way places…..even a medical body parts museum….who knew; thanks again

  3. We have toured some of the Medici building but your tour sounds spot-on. A great tip for others reading this post! Thank you so much for the comment (and tip!)

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