We’re in the historical center of Florence, in the church of Santa Maria Novella, which represents a masterpiece of gothic architecture while the façade is a symbol of the Renaissance thanks to the genius of Leon Battista Alberti. It’s right here, in one the most famous basilicas in Florence, that the story of the Decameron starts. The protagonists of Boccaccio’s work find themselves in the church, while the plague was dispersing and they decide to escape for fourteen days in the hills of Fiesole, like the same poet writes, “In the vulnerable church of Santa Maria Novella, on a Tuesday morning, when almost no one was there, […] seven young women met each other…”.
Now the Church is a beloved destination for tourists from all over the world: they like to sit on the green lawn in front of the churchyard, enjoying the beauty of the façade. Inside, there is one of the wonders of the fourteenth century Italian art, the Trinità by Masaccio. And it is not the only work of art worthy of note hosted in the Basilica: in fact, the artists who worked for Santa Maria Novella were very numerous. Among these, there's Giotto: inside the central nave you can be amazed by its Crucifix, dated 1290.
The façade of Santa Maria Novella was fully completed recently. At that time, this was a common “problem” for many of the city’s churches. The outside of Santa Maria Novella was only completed in 1920, the façade of the Duomo in 1887, and the front of the Basilica of San Lorenzo was never finished, and still today lacks marble (but it's beautiful as it is!).
Leon Battista Alberti, the Renaissance architect who designed Santa Maria Novella façade, used “deliberately” distinctive decorative elements known as "upside down volutes".