Santa Maria delle Carceri
Piazza Santa Maria delle Carceri, 7, 59100 Prato PO, Italia
The Basilica of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato vaunts harmonious proportions and a Greek-cross plan topped by a dome, even though the exterior, decorated with white and green marble, was never finished. The Renaissance interior is decorated with a majolica frieze and tondi by Andrea della Robbia. The windows were made based on a design by Domenico Ghirlandaio.
Santa Maria delle Carceri is also home to many works of art. The northern transept is enclosed in an elegant 16th-century balustrade by Buontalenti and boasts a magnificent niche in white marble based on a design by Sangallo that was inspired by the ones in the Pantheon. The historic prisons can be found under the sacristy.
Among the most significant works in the church is Sangallo's “Saint John the Baptist”, his only work in bronze and originally placed above the marble font. The original, replaced by a copy in 1902, was removed from the church and is now kept in New York.
The Basilica of Santa Maria delle Carceri, considered an architectural masterpiece of the early Renaissance, is located in the homonymous square in Prato and stands a few meters from the famous Emperor's Castle.