lunedì 8 marzo 2010
San Miniato, an unique and tremendous church
Walk up at the top of the hill of Piazzale Michelangelo and reach San Miniato al Monte a fascinating church of the XI Century.
St. Miniato was an Armenian prince serving in the Roman army under Emperor Decius.He was denounced as a Christian after becoming a hermit and was brought before the Emperor who was camped outside the gates of Florence. The Emperor ordered him to be thrown to beasts in the Amphitheatre where a panther was called upon him but refused to devour him. Beheaded in the presence of the Emperor, he is alleged to have picked up his head, crossed the Arno and walked up the hill of Mons Fiorentinus to his hermitage.The Basilica has an unfinished 15th century campanile that was damaged during the siege of Florence in 1530.The interior of this magnificent example of Florentine Romanesque architecture and the pavement in the centre of the Basilica includes marble intarsias representing the signs of the zodiac and symbolic animals.The beautiful Zodiac, which is originally a pagan motif, here assumes a Christian symbolic value, according to some, by its subdivision into twelve signs which allude to the twelve Apostles. The sacristy is decorated by a cycle of frescoes of Episodes from the life of Saint Benedict by Spinello Aretino (c. 1387). In 1447 Piero de’ Medici commissioned Michelozzo to build the chapel of the Crucifix, the little tempietto at the end of the nave.
Visit the place of ancient longing and hear the echoes of Gregorian Chants and perhaps you can even catch a wisp of incense from vespers. The fortitude of San Miniato al Monte Basilica in Florence Italy is resilient and ready to greet another ten thousand years of faithful fellowship. Whether you are on pilgrimage or a student of art and history, the Basilica is watching out over the Valley, awaiting your arrival.
From the centre is 30 minutes walking, but there are bus ( number 12 and 13 ) that goes there from the train station, even close to Hotel Mario's.If you are looking to be far from the crowd and chaos, go to rest there.