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Church of Santi Apostoli in Florence
Photo © Claudia Ciabattini
Photo © Claudia Ciabattini

Church of Santi Apostoli in Florence

Places of worship

A very ancient church overlooking a little square in the heart of Florence

The Church of Santi Apostoli is located in the historic center of Florence, near Piazza della Signoria and the elegant Lungarno degli Acciaiuoli. Overlooking Piazza del Limbo, it was founded in 805 by Charlemagne in the presence of his paladins and his court, as testified by a plaque on the facade.

The original building, built on an ancient cemetery, was replaced by the current basilica, constructed according to the traditional basilica layout with three naves ending in a semicircular apse. The facade and the sides of the church are made of exposed stone, and, on the back, you can still admire the original semicircular apse and the bell tower rebuilt, in the upper part, probably designed by Baccio d'Agnolo in the 16th century.

Inside are columns of green marble from Prato, with beautiful Corinthian capitals supporting round arches. The chapels along the side naves were built during the 15th and 16th centuries. The tragic flood of 1966 seriously damaged the church and the artworks inside: the altarpiece Immacolata Concezione (Immaculate Conception) by Vasari, for example, is still under restoration.

In the church are kept the flint flakes that tradition says came from the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, gifted in 1096 by Goffredo di Buglione – a knight of the First Crusade celebrated by both Dante and Torquato Tasso – to Pazzino de' Pazzi for the valor he demonstrated in the war.

Even today this church maintains its importance in the city: on Easter morning, with ancient stones, the sacred fire is lit, carried in solemn procession up to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore where, with a precious brazier, the colombina which start the famous Explosion of the Cart is lit.

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