Fire in the 18th century practically destroyed 13th-century Basilica di Santa Maria del Carmine, but it spared its magnificent chapel frescoes – a treasure of paintings by Masolino da Panicale, Masaccio and Filippino Lippi commissioned by rich merchant Felice Brancacci upon his return from Egypt in 1423. The chapel entrance is right of the main church entrance. Only 30 people can visit at a time, limited to 30 minutes in high season; pricier weekend tickets include admission to the Fondazione Salvatore Romano.
Masaccio's fresco cycle illustrating the life of St Peter is considered among his greatest works, representing a definitive break with Gothic art and a plunge into new worlds of expression in the early stages of the Renaissance. The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise and The Tribute Money, both on the left side of the chapel, are his best-known works. Masaccio painted these frescoes in his early 20s, taking over from Masolino, and interrupted the task to go to Rome, where he died, aged only 27. The cycle was completed some 60 years later by Filippino Lippi. Masaccio himself features in his St Peter Enthroned; he's the one standing beside the Apostle, staring out at the viewer. The figures around him have been identified as Brunelleschi, Masolino and Alberti. Filippino Lippi also painted himself into the scene of St Peter's Crucifixion, along with his teacher, Botticelli.