Santa Maria degli Angeli, Florence

Started in 1434, design by Brunelleschi
Although Brunelleschi laid out specific plans for Sta. Maria, they were not necessarily followed. Since the building was not completed until the 20th century, we have only his drawings to understand his intentions. The shape was retained, a centralized octagonal dome. Originally, it was meant to have 8 chapels surrounding the dome, which was to be supported by 8 piers and pilasters. The altar would have been in the center.
This was the first centralized building of the Renaissance, and it may have been inspired again by the ancient ruins in Rome, most likely the Temple of Minerva Medica. In the Sta. Maria there is a strong sense of symmetry, a longtime pursuit of Brunelleschi's. Moving away from the modular squares of San Croce, this building is more along the lines of the Santo Spirito with its sculptural tendencies. The rotunda shape has a sense of plasticity, it seems to be carved out of pre-existing material with molded interiors. Although this is a classically influenced structure, it maintains a refreshing vivacity.


  1. It's a beautiful example of roman architecture. It was a bath house, later it turned a church. Rome is a special city, it has a lot of architectual treasures. I liked it.

  2. It isn't in Rome but in Florence!!!!
    Another wonderful Italian city, where the artistic current of Renaissance started, thanks to the works of brinelleschi.

  3. Thanks for the interesting info. Wish they finished this rotonda according to Brunelleschi's plan. I intend to climb his dome in May. I spy some Japanese books on your header. Do you read them? (I'm from Japan.)

  4. Hello there Emma,
    Thanks for reading! I'm glad to hear that you'll get to climb the dome. I wanted to also, but it was so very hot when I was there in July. Elsewhere on this blog I've listed some recommendations for Florence if you want to have a look.

    Unfortunately I cannot read Japanese and these are not my travel books. But I loved the composition of them with the orange flip clock and ossified mementos.

    Happy adventures to you!

  5. Thanks! Have you seen Nova's latest episode about Brunelleschi's dome? It was extremely well done that I got goose bumps as I watched. It was great that it came out before my trip but then I realized that it may increase the number of tourists who want to climb the dome when the queue seems already long!

  6. I can't find this wonderful building in Google Earth!
    Do you know Santa maria degli Angeli's correct address?