The Badia Fiorentina
That pointy tower in Dante's neighborhood is one of the nicest (and least visited) older churches in Florence
Via del Proconsolo at Via Dante Alighieri (sometimes enter from front door, sometimes from side, so walk around to check).
Open hours erratic. Usually only Mon 3pm–6pm, but also for weekday evening vespers and Sat-Sun midday masses.
Tours that visit the Badia
(None go inside, thanks to the weird hours)
• Medieval Florence Private Gastronomic Tour (no site entry)
• Florence Segway Tour (no site entry)
★★ Bargello [museum]
Casa di Dante [museum]
★★★ Piazza della Signoria [square]
★★ Palazzo Vecchio [palace/museum]
★★★ Uffizi [museum]
★ Museum of Science [museum]
★★★ Duomo group [church & museum]
Where to eat nearby
★ Alle Murate [meal]
Casa di Dante [meal]
★★ Le Mossacce [meal]
★ L'Antico Trippaio [snack]
★ Acqua Al 2 [meal]
★★★ I Fratellini [snack]
Vecchia Firenze [meal]
★★★ La Giostra [meal]
Grand Hotel Cavour [premier]
Borghese Palace Art Hotel [premier]
Hotel Bavaria [super-cheap]
Hotel Santa Croce [super-cheap/cheap]
Baglioni Hotel Bernini Palace [premier]
Galigai Tower [cheap/moderate]
» More hotels near the Badia
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The Badia Fiorentina. (Photo by Sailko.)The Badia is something everybody notices when they look at the Florentine skyline—it has the old city's only pointy bell tower; the others are all square-topped—but few people know what it is.
It was founded as a Benedictine abbey in the late 10th century, and rebuilt as a Gothic church in 1284–1310. The interior has an unfortunately uninspired baroque overlay (though the carved trompe-l'oeil ceiling is fun, if you can rustle up a sacristan to flip on the lights for you).
There are some tombs sculpted by Mina da Fiesole and Bernardo Rossellino, a painting by Giorgio Vasari, and several nice but ruinous frescoes by Nardo di Cione. The best work inside is Filippino Lippi's 1485 Madonna Appearing to St. Bernard, done very much in the style of his teacher Botticelli.
Lovely Renaissance cloisters—when you can get into them—designed by Rossellino around a well and some orange trees. Try to get access to the upper level with its anonymous 15th century frescoes.
Fun fact: The Badia, around the corner from Dante's House, was also the parish church of Beatrice Portinari, the famous "Beatrice" of Dante's Divine Comedy, with whom the author's alter ego was in love and whom he quite literally followed through the Gates of Hell and slog of Purgatory all the way to Paradise.
- Planning your day: The Badia only takes about 20–30 minutes. Its hours are erratic, often open only in the evening for vespers (see next bit).
- You can attend mass: Sundays high mass and chant at 11am; Sat mass at 12:30pm; Tues–Fri vespers at 6pm.
- Badia tours: No tours go inside the Badia Fiorentina, thanks to the weird hours, but these at least pause and point it out:
This article was written by Reid Bramblett and was last updated in March 2013. All information was accurate at the time.
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