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Say Florence and the Renaissance comes to mind, but the city also boasts a number of very interesting baroque buildings. Here is a short tour itinerary to explore them.

barocco firenze

Piazza San Firenze – This is one of the examples of baroque architecture in the city. It is also known as the Complesso di San Filippo Neri, or of San Firenze, the latter deriving from a mispronunciation of an earlier construction dedicated to San Fiorenzo.
The square is in the stretched shape of an almond and its eastern side is dominated by the facade of the San Firenze complex including the San Filippo Neri church, a monumental baroque building that housed the monastery of the same name. When the San Filippo fathers came to Florence in 1640, Pope Urban VIII granted them the part of Piazza San Firenze that lay between Borgo dei Greci and Via dell'Anguillara up to Via Filippina that was named after them, an area that included tower houses and smaller buildings as well as the church of San Firenze.
The San Filippo fathers wished to create a large complex of buildings including a monastery, a church and an oratory dedicated to San Filippo Neri, a native of Florence and founder of the order who was canonized in 1622 and who was active in the Counter Reformation.The grand façade of 1667 designed by Pier Francesco Silvani was only terminated in 1772.
 
 
Church of Saints Michael and Gaetano – One of the most important examples of Baroque in Florence is to be seen in piazza Antinori where it is a continuation of via de' Tornabuoni. This admirable work of architecture, built, furnished and decorated over almost one hundred years between 1604 and 1701 is a showcase of the history of 17th Century sacred art in Florence.
Matteo Nigetti, a man of sober character and one of Florence’s leading baroque architects, superintended the works up till the completion of the transept and the choir in 1633 when he was succeeded by the court architect Gherardo Silvano and his son Pierfrancesco. In 1631 the Theatines set the coat of arms of their most illustrious benefactor, Carlo de' Medici, inside the church at the centre of the cross vault.
The Silvanos went on to complete the body of the nave and the side chapels in accordance with the original plans, and, still without its façade, the church was solemnly consecrated on 29 August 1649 by Cardinal Carlo de’ Medici. Construction was completed in 1701 with the spectacular extension of the staircase in piazza Antinori.
The façade, in the typical Florentine stone of pietra forte was a style new to what Florentines were used to; indeed it has a typically Roman look beginning with the staircase. The harmonious interior which has remained intact is in the form of a Latin cross with a single nave and three chapels on either side with access one to the other by a communicating passageway.
On the ceiling at the cross point of the nave and the transept is the monumental coat of arms of Cardinal Carlo de' Medici, a work by Bastiano Pettirosso of 1631. There is a wooden pulpit between the second and the third chapels on the left, underpinned by two brackets with angel heads and decorated with two cherub caryatids. Below them lies the tomb of the Cardi family including that of the painter Ludovico Cardi called il Cigoli, whose styles ranged from mannerism to baroque.

 

Luca Giordano Room in Palazzo Medici Riccardi – The ancient residence of the Medici family is one of the symbols of baroque art by Neapolitan artist Luca Giordano who painted one of the masterpieces of European baroque in Florence, the famous Galleria.
Beginning on the ground floor, the visitor enters the loggia that was decorated by Andreozzi with cherubs in stucco, a material very much in fashion in Florence in those years and which was typical of Florentine baroque. The Galleria on the first floor was created in 1685 and though not exceptionally spacious large, is one of the most significant and appealing examples of Florentine baroque. Embellished with gilded stucco and painted mirrors, and with large bright windows on the south side, it is especially renowned for the great ceiling painted by Luca Giordano.
The Neapolitan painter was in Florence to fresco the Corsini Chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine when he received his new commission. The Gallery ceiling features the Apology of the Medici family, protectors and benefactors of the Riccardis.
The ground-floor Gallery in the building illustrates the clusters that are repeated on the ceilings by Pietro da Cortona in Palazzo Pitti in the Sala dei Pianeti and by Volterrano in the Violante della Rovere Chamber; the Baroque sculptor Foggini set shells and leaves within the clusters which can also be seen in the adjacent library, in the Violante Chamber in Pitti and in the Feroni Chapel in the basilica of Santissima Annunziata.
 
 
Published: 1/3/2014

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