The Orsanmichele

A Gothic granary-turned-church decorated by early Renaissance sculptures

The Orsanmichele entrance
Entrance to the Orsanmichele. (Photo by Sailko)
Given this odd church's location halfway down the historic center's major street, you'll keep passing as you criss-cross Florence. Might as well pop in for a look.

Save for the statues in elaborate marble niches and the oversized, filigreed window frames, from the outside this blocky building doesn't look like most churches, because it wasn't always one.

It was a medieval city granary, built in 1337, and became a church only after a miraculous vision appeared on one of its interior columns in 1380. The statues of saints in frilly stone Gothic niches are by such Renaissance greats as Donatello, Ghiberti, Verrocchio, and Giambologna.

What's in a name?

This was once the site of a garden (orto) for the now-vanished monastery of St. Michael. In other words, it was the "Orto San Michele," which, over the centuries, elided to "Orsanmichele."

Actually, the statues outside are replicas; most of the the time-bitten originals are kept safe from further deterioration in a museum upstairs—which is, oddly, open only on Mondays (which gets confusing in August, when the church itself is closed Mondays). At least it's free.

The two statues that are not in that museum upstairs are Donatello's St. George (in the Bargello, complete with his original niche) and his St. Louis of Toulouse (in the museum at Santa Croce).

Inside the church itself (for which entry is free) is a massive and gorgeous carved Gothic altar (technically a tabernacle) inside by Andrea Orcagna containing an exquisite 1347 Madonna and Child by Giotto follower Bernardo Daddi.

Tips & links


Via Calzaiuoli at Via de' Lamberti (usual entrance around back on Via dell'Arte della Lana)
tel. +39-055-23-885


Church: Tues-Sun: 10am–5pm
Museo: Mon 10am–5pm




Bus: C2
Hop-on/hop-off: Santa Croce (A), Corso Tintori (C)

How long does The Orsanmichele take?

Planning your day: 15 minutes for the church, another 20 minutes for the museum.

» Florence itineraries

Museum of Renaissance statues

To get into the museum of Renaissance statues upstairs, you actually enter via the building behind the church and across Via Arte della Lana. Yep, across the street. (Look up; there's an enclosed bridge connecting the two buildings' second stories.)

Use the Firenze Card

The Orsanmichele is covered by the Firenze Card—free admission, no waiting in line. » more

The Orsanmichele tours

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