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Piazza di Santa Maria Novella

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

P.za di Santa Maria Novella, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

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expert
Ambra
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit Piazza Santa Maria Novella in the late afternoon when the crowds have dissipated and the setting sun casts a magical glow on the façade of the church – it's a photographer's dream. Also, step into one of the local cafés bordering the piazza for an aperitivo; these spots are favorites among locals to unwind after a day's work, and they offer a more authentic atmosphere than the main tourist routes."

What is Piazza Santa Maria Novella?

Piazza Santa Maria Novella is a significant public square located in the heart of Florence, Italy. The square is named after the Santa Maria Novella church, which presides over it with a facade of geometrically patterned marble that has become emblematic of Florentine architecture.

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The vast space of the piazza has been a gathering place for Florentines and visitors alike for centuries. It is renowned for its harmonious blend of religious, cultural, and social life. The square is flanked by historical buildings and provides a stage for the seamless blend of day-to-day life with the city's rich history, a place where one can absorb the genuine atmosphere of Florence.

History of Piazza Santa Maria Novella

The origins of Piazza Santa Maria Novella date back to the mid-13th century when the Dominican order took residence in Florence and began constructing the church and a convent. Over the subsequent centuries, the area around the church developed into a pivotal public space for the city.

This square has seen countless historical events and transformations. During the Renaissance, it became a venue for festivals, celebrations, and even chariot races. It was later redesigned in the 16th century by architect Giorgio Vasari, and further refined in the 19th century with the creation of the current neoclassical layout that remains to this day.

Why is Piazza Santa Maria Novella Important?

Piazza Santa Maria Novella holds immense cultural and social significance for Florence. As the site of one of the city's most important churches, it is a repository of art and architecture that spans from the Gothic and Renaissance periods to the modern era.


Its importance extends beyond its aesthetic merit; it acts as a cultural crossroads where locals and tourists intersect, fostering a lively atmosphere that characterizes Florentine public life. The piazza is also important for its role in historical events, acting as a venue for public gatherings and celebrations for centuries.


Beyond its beauty and social function, Piazza Santa Maria Novella serves as a testament to the city’s ongoing relationship with its past. Each building and monument surrounding the piazza is steeped in history, making it a touchstone for understanding Florence's evolution over the ages.

Things to Do & See at Piazza Santa Maria Novella

Visitors to Piazza Santa Maria Novella are spoiled for choice with a plethora of activities and sights. The star attraction is, of course, the Santa Maria Novella church itself, which houses priceless works of art, including Masaccio's 'Trinity' and frescoes by Ghirlandaio.

Moreover, one should explore the cloisters and chapels that are part of the church complex. Here you can marvel at a synthesis of art, spirituality, and history that is encapsulated in the magnificent frescoes and serene ambiance.

Besides the church, visitors can relax at one of the many cafes lining the piazza, taking in the bustling activity and enjoying traditional Florentine delicacies. Strolling through the square, one can witness street performers, local artists at work, and the occasional market stalls that set up shop offering unique local wares.

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For those interested in architecture and history, the surrounding buildings offer a visual feast. The structures bordering the piazza include the Alinari photo museum, the stunning facade of the former Hospital of San Paolo, and various Renaissance palazzos. And let’s not overlook the Obelisk in the center of the square, which with its four turtles at the base, a little quirky addition by the sculptor Giambologna, adds a distinctive touch to the square's layout.


In essence, Piazza Santa Maria Novella is a microcosm of Florence's grandeur. Whether one is pursuing an immersive art and history exploration or merely some leisurely hours soaking in the city's vibrancy, this square is a gateway to an authentic Florentine experience.

Frequently asked questions

What is Piazza Santa Maria Novella known for?

Piazza Santa Maria Novella is known for its cultural and historical significance in Florence. It is famous for the Santa Maria Novella Church, which showcases masterpieces of art and architecture from the Renaissance period.

Where is Piazza Santa Maria Novella located in Florence?

Piazza Santa Maria Novella is located in the heart of Florence, close to the city's main railway station named after the square itself. It is situated in the northwestern part of the city's historic center.

What architectural styles are represented in the buildings around Piazza Santa Maria Novella?

The buildings around Piazza Santa Maria Novella display a variety of architectural styles, with the most notable being the Gothic and Renaissance styles, particularly exhibited by the Santa Maria Novella Church and its facade designed by Leon Battista Alberti.

Are there any notable art pieces inside the Santa Maria Novella Church?

Yes, the Santa Maria Novella Church houses several notable art pieces including Masaccio's 'Trinity', Ghirlandaio's frescoes, and Giotto's Crucifix, among others.

Can visitors attend services at the Santa Maria Novella Church?

Yes, visitors can attend religious services at the Santa Maria Novella Church. It is an active place of worship and its schedule of services can be obtained from the church’s official website or by visiting the church.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

P.za di Santa Maria Novella, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps