The Church of San Miniato al Monte, above Florence in Tuscany, Italy, was Michelangelo’s favorite church and it’s easy to see why. Both inside and out, this Basilica is an architectural gem that should not be missed by anyone visiting Florence, both for the church and the magnificent view out over Florence.
The facade was decorated in green and white marble geometric patterns similar to the facades of Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella, during the period of the 11 C to 13 C. The interior of the church is mostly early Renaissance with fine frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi and others, a wonderful 13 C marble floor and numerous other splendid works of art. The raised choir and presbytery contain a magnificent Romanesque pulpit and screen made in 1207. In a side chapel there is a della Robbia statue of Saint Minias. If this chapel is locked, you can try politely asking one of the monks to open it.
How to get to San Miniato al Monte:
The Basilica can be reached by bus including ATAF Bus 12 from the main railway station and other stops, or on foot. Many visitors take the bus up the hill and walk down. If you take the bus down, be sure to go back on Bus 12. The bus in the other direction wanders all over town. Your bus ticket is good for 90 minutes which means those in a hurry can visit the church and use the same ticket to return to town.
On foot, I recommend the route that passes through the Giardino delle Rose. Note that this is a fairly stiff climb during the hot days of summer.
San Miniato al Monte Opening hours:
Sundays: 8.00 – 19.00, Weekdays in winter: 7.00 – 13.00; 15.30 – 19.00. In Summer: 7.00-sunset. Between 7.00 – 8.00 am, only side door is open.
Gregorian chant at San Miniato al Monte:
Mass takes place on Sundays and holidays: 8.30, 10.00, 11.30 and 17.30. At 10.00 and 17.30 there is Gregorian chant. On weekdays, mass takes place at 7.15 and 17.30.
More about San Miniato al Monte.