Church of Santo Spirito
Church of Santo Spirito is a must see when visiting Florence. It is situated on the beautiful little piazza Santo Spirito, in the Oltrarno section of Florence. Oltrarno is the neighborhood on the south side of the River Arno. There isn’t a lot of tourist traffic compared to San Lorenzo Church or the Duomo. However those who have visited this beautiful basilica know they have seen a true gem in Florence.
Church of Santo Spirito was the last basilica designed by the most famous architect of the Renaissance, Filippo Brunelleschi. Except for its beautiful and graceful dome the outside it is completely unassuming with a simply unadorned façade. Unfortunately he died and his plans for the facade were never carried out. I really enjoyed it. It has a feeling more personal and simple.
The Church of Santo Spirito is surprisingly large once you enter its doors with thirty-eight side chapels. You could spend a good amount of time here, going through each of the individual chapels.
There is also some amazing art, by Bernardo Rossellino, Verrocchio, Fillipino Lippi and others. The interior of Church of Santo Spirito is breathtaking as Brunelleschi took the architecture and design to a greater degree of perfection than he did with to San Lorenzo Church. The artwork inside is not to be missed either. The walls are decorated with famous oils. The most memorable for me was the Nerli Chapel. Fillipino Lippi's most famous works, Madonna and Child with Saints is inside here. This was similar to his other works and that of his father on the subject of the Madonna and Child.
Another wonderful site to see is the main crucifix. It is found in the Barbadori Chapel. It has a sculpted Christ created by Michaelangelo when he was just 17 years old. The wooden crucifix is simply stunning, so lifelike and seems to float from the ceiling. He donated it to the church, in thanks for enabling him to dissect human cadavers. There's also a statue by Michelangelo of an entirely different character and feel.
I thought the Church of Santo Spirito was a terrific visit, worthy of inclusion in sightseeing on this side of the Arno River. Afterward, you can relax on the piazza at one of the small neighborhood cafes and take in the charm and relaxed history all around you. You can also visit other famous attractions nearby like the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. Collectively make a very enjoyable day in the Oltrarno area.