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Sala capitolare della Chiesa di Santa Maria Maddalena dé Pazzi
Places of worship

The Church of Santa Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi

Exploring the magnificent frescoes of Perugino and his school

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This monastery was founded in 1256-57. In the 1300s it was entrusted to Cistercian nuns. From 1481 onwards, the monastery and the church became property of the Cistercian monks and the structures were renovated according to Renaissance styles. Other transformative works were carried out in the 1600s, after the monastery came under the control of the Carmelite nuns and following the canonization of Saint Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi. In 1888, the Carmelites abandoned the monastery. After restoration which occurred following Florence’s flood, the Monastery’s ex-capitulary room became a museum which included new access to the church’s crypt so that visitors could visit the celebrated fresco by Pietro Perugino.

Visitors can enter by means of the sacristy. From there, you can go down into the crypt and then come back up into the ex-capitulary room where you can catch a glimpse of Perugino’s fresco. In the crypt, you will find an eighteenth century altar with the wax effigy of San Vittorio Martire and a detached fresco by Bernardino Poccetti which represents Santa Maria Maddalena. This fresco originally decorated the lunette located above the church’s entrance. The frescoes in the capitulary hall maintain their original location. In addition to the celebrated fresco of the Crucifixion by Pietro Perugino and Penitent Mary Magdalene by Bernardino Poccetti, the church also hosts a fresco and sinopis by the School of Perugino which represents Christ showing Saint Bernard his sixth wound from carrying the Cross.
the Crucifixion painted by Pietro Perugino

In Florence's Church of Santa Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi, visitors can walk across the crypt and enter the Charter Room of the antique Cistercian monastery. There they will find, still in its original location, the monumental fresco of the Crucifixion painted by Pietro Perugino between 1493-96. The work was commissioned by Dionisio and Giovanna Pucci, members of an important patrician family from Florence.

The fresco occupies an entire wall, divided by the actual vaults of the ceiling and the painted architecture representing three arches. The landscape, harmonious and full of light, dissolves the drama of the scene, placing it within the serenely meditative vision that is typical of the artist.

Among those represented in the scene are the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist, placed in their traditional position at the foot of the cross. The other characters, however, are included for the particular significance each held for the inhabitants fo the monastery: Mary Magdalen is the saint to whom the church was originally dedicated in 1257; Saint Benedict is the father of western monasticism; Bernardo di Chiaravalle, in a white habit, was the great theologian of the first years of the Cistercian Order. The three trees behind the figure of Saint Bernardo may refer to the Trinity.
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If you are visiting Tuscany you cannot miss Florence. The Renaissance city is a treasure trove of art with an astonishing contemporary vibe. Beyond the extraordinary artistic heritage, a testimony to its centuries of civilization, the best way to enjoy Florence is to stroll along the riverside avenues at sunset, or to get lost among the city’s myriad alleyways of the bohemian Oltrarno or the ...