Chiesa d'Ognissanti

Church in Santa Maria Novella

Stroll along Borgo d'Ognissanti, from Piazza Carlo Goldoni towards ancient city gate Porta al Prato, past antiques shops and designer boutiques to reach this 13th-century church, built as part of a Benedictine monastery. Its highlight is Domenico Ghirlandaio's fresco of the Madonna della Misericordia protecting members of the Vespucci family, the church's main patrons. Amerigo Vespucci, the Florentine navigator who gave his name to the American continent, is supposed to be the young boy whose head peeks between the Madonna and the old man.

Also here are a Crucifixion by Taddeo Gaddi, Ghirlandaio's St Jerome (1480) and the pensive St Augustine (also 1480) by Botticelli, who is buried in the church. The early Renaissance artist had requested to be buried at the feet of Simonetta Vespucci, the married woman whom Botticelli was said to be in love with and who served as a model for one of his greatest masterpieces, Primavera (Spring). Look for the simple round tombstone marked ‘Sandro Filipepe’ in the south transept. Botticelli grew up in a house on the same street.


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