Badia Fiorentina ☆☆☆

The Chiostro degli Aranci (Oranges Cloister), Badia Fiorentina, Florence, Italy (Photo by Sailko)
The Chiostro degli Aranci (Oranges Cloister)

That pointy tower in Dante's neighborhood is one of the nicest (and least visited) older churches in Florence

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.

Photo gallery
  • The Chiostro degli Aranci (Oranges Cloister), Badia Fiorentina, Italy (Photo by Sailko)
  • The Badia bell tower, Badia Fiorentina, Italy (Photo © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 2.5)
  • The interior, Badia Fiorentina, Italy (Photo by Gianni Careddu)
  • The Chiostro del Campanile (bell tower cloister), Badia Fiorentina, Italy (Photo by Sailko)
  • Frescoes (1435–39) by Giovanni di Consalvo in the Chiostro degli Aranci, Badia Fiorentina, Italy (Photo by Darren & Brad)
  • Frescoes (1717) by Vincenzo Meucci in the Cappella di San Mauro, Badia Fiorentina, Italy (Photo by Sailko)
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How long does Badia Fiorentina take?

The Badia only takes about 20–30 minutes. Its hours are erratic, often open only in the evening for vespers (see next bit).

Attend Mass at the Badia Fiorentina

Sundays high mass and chant at 11am; Sat mass at 12:30pm; Tues–Fri vespers at 6pm.

Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for sightseeing

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is?... Dov'é doh-VAY
...the museum il museo eel moo-ZAY-yo
...the church la chiesa lah key-YAY-zah
...the cathedral il duomo [or] la cattedrale eel DUO-mo [or] lah cah-the-DRAH-leh
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
Closed day giorno di riposo JOR-no dee ree-PO-zo
Weekdays (Mon-Sat) feriali fair-ee-YA-lee
Sunday & holidays festivi fe-STEE-vee
ticket biglietto beel-YET-toh
two adults due adulti DOO-way ah-DOOL-tee
one child un bambino oon bahm-BEE-no
one student uno studente OO-noh stu-DENT-ay
one senior un pensionato oon pen-see-yo-NAH-toh

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah

* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).