Visita guidata Basilica Santa Maria Novella

visita basilica santa maria novella

  • Santa Maria Novella Square

  • Facciata Santa Maria Novella

  • Giotto’s painted cross

  • Ghirlandaio’s frescos

  • Cappellone degli Spagnoli

  • Paolo Uccello’s frescos

  • Chiostro grande

Tour duration: 2 hours

Difficulty: law

Different abled accessibility: yes

Suitable for children: yes

Difference in level: 10 metres

Further important information at the bottom of the page (or click here)

Basilica Santa Maria Novella, treasure of the Florentine Renaissance

Santa Maria Novella church tour is an extraordinary immersion in the splendour of the Florentine Renaissance. The complex, one of the three most important in Florence for spirituality and art together with the Duomo and Santa Croce, allows you to appreciate absolute masterpieces of the history of Italian art, from the Renaissance period in particular. With a 2-hour tour we immerse ourselves in the beauties kept inside the church, such as Masaccio’s Trinity and Giotto‘s painted Cross, we see the beautiful Chiostro verde (Green Cloister), with paintings by artists such as Paolo Uccello, we will then visit the fascinating space of the Cappellone degli Spagnoli, to then enter the space of the Refectory, where we will see here the fantastic preserved paintings by Paolo Uccello with the mysterious and intriguing frescoes of the Genesis Stories, and will conclude with a visit to the majestic large cloister, all frescoed with Stories of San Domenico and other Dominicans, and then with the disorienting space of the dormitory.

Santa Maria Novella tour

Nativity of the Virgin, Domenico Ghirlandaio

The emblematic Leon Battista Alberti’s façade

We begin Santa Maria Novella church tour from the outside, admiring its beautiful façade. One of the most elegant creations of the Florentine Renaissance, the façade of the church is one of the masterpieces of the architect Leon Battista Alberti, a distinguished personality in the history of Italian architecture. The great scholar, in fact, who theorised Brunelleschi’s studies on perspective in a treatise, created a façade that is admired for the high level of harmony achieved.

In addition to the magnificent example of architecture, what we are going to discover on this façade are some symbols receding a superficial glance, such as the emblem of the merchant who commissioned the decoration.

We also see together some elements related to astronomical studies, carried out at the convent of Santa Maria Novella by Egnazio Danti. Although this is a little known name to most, we will see how the role of this character has forever changed the way we conceive the days of the calendar …

From the outside it will then be time to approach the entrance. In doing so we pass a beautiful marble enclosure, all surrounded by very deep arches called avelli. These ancient burials were used over time to bury the bodies of the dead who in life were particularly linked to the Basilica; among these, we also find the ancient tomb of a well-known Renaissance painter. You will be amused by the anecdote that lies behind the tombs and that is still part of a typical Florentine saying today.

Once you cross the threshold you will be amazed by the solemn space elegantly marked by a forest of columns and pointed arches, perhaps the most properly completed example of Gothic architecture in Florence.

Starting in the visit from the bottom we see the altars with the imposing altarpieces painted from the second half of the 16th-century to renew the original pictorial decoration of the church.

Among the various altars we reach the one where, not many years ago, one of the frescoes, an absolute masterpiece of Renaissance painting, was brought to light: the Trinity by Masaccio. Painted by the pioneer painter of the Florentine pictorial perspective, the work is a cornerstone of the entire history of art, a symbol as it is the perspective development of depth.

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Interior of Santa Maria Novella Basilica

visita basilica santa maria novella

‘Chiostro verde’, Santa Maria Novella Basilica

Continuing towards the main altar, you will admire from near the center of the nave another pivotal work of art history: the painted Cross by Giotto, once always kept at this level of the church but positioned on a structure that once furnished the church; its disappearance is due to a very specific historical event.

Following with the visit of the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, one of the most beautiful artistic experiences you will ever have in Florence will be the view of the high walls of the main chapel, all beautifully frescoed by Domenico Ghirlandaio with the Stories of Mary and St. John the Baptist. The registers on which the salient episodes of the two characters are arranged are a fundamental testimony of all Renaissance painting, in which the artist lavished so much effort and technique, to the point that what you will have in front of your eyes can be considered to all intents and purposes. his greatest masterpiece.

The mystery of the Greek patriarch buried here

After admiring the very elegant Ghirlandaio’s figures, we see where the remains of Joseph II, patriarch of Constantinople in the 15th-century, rest. But if the tomb of the religious is one of the many in this church, the strange presence of an Orthodox patriarch in a Catholic building is a rather rare circumstance: we will discover together the reason for this unusual presence.

We enter the first cloister of the complex, immediately connected to the church, called the  “Chiostro verde” (Green Cloister) due to the use of green as the prevailing color of the frescoes that decorate this environment. Before going further, you cannot miss a tour of the entire quadrangle to contemplate the vision of the cloister, its vegetation and the unexpected atmosphere of peace in which the centuries-old walls seem to miraculously keep away the daily bustle of the city that flows a few meters from here.

The green cloister leads to one of the most evocative spaces of the whole complex: the “Capellone degli Spagnoli” (the Spanish Chapel). This room, once the Chapter Hall of the Dominican friars, today preserves a cycle of frescoes of rare beauty, created in the second half of the 14th-century to celebrate the role of the Order in the re-evangelisation of faithful threatened by heretical currents, as well as to emphasise the centrality of Dominicans in theological knowledge, as shown by the large fresco with St. Thomas Aquinas inthroned; the figures of three men in a meditative attitude at his feet, together with the Liberal Arts each represented with a truly curious symbol – as well as the spotted dogs that bite the wolves painted on the opposite wall – herald a fascinating depth of meanings that we will discover together.

Our Santa Maria Novella church tour continues with a visit to the Refectory, an ancient meeting and convivial place for the Dominican friars, today a shelter for some of the most mysterious paintings of the Florentine Renaissance: the Genesis Stories frescoed by the painter Paolo Uccello and preserved here today, after their detachment from the green cloister.

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Trinità, Masaccio

Piazza della Signoria

Genesis Stories, Paolo Uccello

The figures represented in an unusual light, with the ‘double’ presence of elements referring to the salvation of man after the Last Judgment, have to do, as you will discover, with an important historical event that took place in Florence in the years in which the artist made these images in the green cloister.

The last stop of our Basilica of Santa Maria Novella complex tour will be the Great Cloister, a huge space, with the tune of sixty metres wide on each side, where the artists of the 16th and 17th century have frescoed the stories of Christ in parallel with scenes from St. Domenic’s life.

An intoxicating kaleidoscope of images and stories is what you will contemplate with a Basilica of Santa Maria Novella guided tour, an unexpected experience of wonderful images and art that are still kept a few metres from where life and chaos continue to flow.

important Information about the tour (click here)

This tour can be booked in combination with the other tours and hiking routes available on Florence and Siena which can be consulted in the Menu.

A convenient way to access all the museums or to use the Florentine public transport service is by the Firenze Card (temporarily not active).

The activity proposed here is not a joinable tour but a private tour that is carried out on request of individuals or groups organised with a tourist agency and can be customised for starting time, meeting place and duration. depending on the customer’s needs.


Duration of Santa Maria Novella Church private tour

The guided tour lasts 2 hours



Radio rental compulsory from 6 people onwards

From 6 people onwards, to facilitate listening to the guide explanations and ensuring social distancing outdoors and indoors, it is strictly recommended to rent radio devices with transmitters that ensure perfect listening to the explanations of the guide even from a distance; as we visit the inside of the Santa Maria Novella Basilica, the rental of radios is compulsory for 4 or more people. The service is booked by the guide when the guided tour is requested, but the rental cost, which is € 1.00 per person for 2 or 3 hours, is charged to the customer and can be paid directly to the guide who will then take care to pay the supplier.

Carers or teachers of school groups do not pay for the rental of the radio.


Santa Maria Novella opening hours:

 From Monday to Thursday
From April to June9:30am – 5:30pm
From July to September9:30am – 5:30pm
From October to March9:30am – 5:00pm


From April to June11:00am – 5:30pm
From July to September11:00am – 5:30pm
From October to March11:00am – 5:00pm


 Saturday and religious holidays
From April to June9:30am – 5:30pm
From July to September9:30am – 5:30pm
From October to March9:30am – 5:00pm


From April to June1:30pm – 5:30pm
From July to September12:00am – 5:30pm
From October to March1:00pm – 5:00pm



The opening hours may vary due to special events or celebrations, therefore it is always advisable to consult the dedicated section of the official Santa Maria Novella Complex website




Basilica Santa Maria Novella Ticket price




€ 7,50



Minors from 11 to 18 years of age (upon presentation of an identity document)€ 5,00

Free admission



Residents of the Municipality of Florence (required to show an identity document)

Children up to 11 years old

Disabled people, and if they need it, to their carers

Members of religious orders or congregations and diocesan clergy

Accompanying schools or groups (1 every 15 members)

Italian tourist guides (who are required to show the relevant card)





Online Ticket reservation Santa Maria Novella Complex

The ticket of Santa Maria Novella Complex can be purchased online by clicking here (fee reservation 1,00 €). In the page open choose the date and the time for visiting the complex.


The price of the entrance ticket to the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella is not included in the tour rate.



Access mode for groups

The maximum number of people admitted per group accompanied by a guide inside the Santa Maria Novella complex is 24 (guide excluded).


The guide does not provide private transport service, which entails the client needs to reach the meeting point established in the route on his own.

To get the contact of a licensed driver who provides private transfer service, as well as getting further information about the tour, please write to:, also on Whatsapp or Telegram

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Cost and reservation of the tour (click here)


Cost of Santa Maria Novella private guided tour

The rate for a 2-hours private guided tour is 120.00 € (price in total and not per person).

For further information about the rates, also to check the deals available, please visit the dedicated section by clicking here.

How to book the tour?

The tour can be booked by writing an email, calling at +393332591526 or texting the guide (also via Whatsapp or Telegram) to check availability for the requested day. 

Once the day and time of the tour have been agreed with the guide, to book it is necessary to advance 50% of the tour value with a deposit to be paid by credit card.

Attention: pay the deposit only after agreed the date and the details of the tour with the guide. The remaining payment of the guided tour takes place after the tour by card, in cash or by bank transfer.

Cancellation Policy

It is the responsibility of the guide to guarantee the guide service in any case. If, even for personal reasons, the guide is unable to perform the service in the date set with the client, it will be his concern to contact a trusted colleague who can replace him and therefore guarantee the customer service.

The cancellation of the tour from the client can be done free of charge by giving timely notice to the guide before 48 hours from the date and time agreed for the service. In this case the deposit paid in advance by the customer will be returned by the guide. If instead cancellation is made by the customer when there are less than 48 hours before the date agreed for the service, the customer will lose the deposit paid.

Cancellation can be made by promptly communicating it to the guide with via email, calling the number +393332591526 or by texting (also via Whatsapp or Telegram).

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How to reach Florence Historic centre (click here)

By Car

Reachable via the A1 motorway (Firenze Scandicci exit and from there continue towards the center, reaching the area of the Santa Maria Novella station, where there is a multi-storey underground car park (reachable only for vehicles with engines from EURO 6 onwards). From the station underpass, Piazza di Santa Maria Novella can be reached in a few minutes.

As a cheaper alternative to the underground car park, there is the Piazzale Montelungo car park (always subject to charges). An excellent alternative to car parking near the center historic is to leave the vehicle at the Villa Costanza car park and from there take the T1 tram line which takes about 22 minutes to reach the Santa Maria Novella station. The T1 line has stops both before and after the Santa Maria station Novella that can be convenient to reach any accommodation For more information on the Tramvia timetables and stops click here.


By private bus lines

There are connections of private lines to reach Florence, such as Italbus and Flixbus which reach the Villa Costanza tramway station; from the latter the tram line takes about 22 minutes to reach Santa Maria Novella station. For more info on the Tramvia timetables click here.


By Plane

Florence can be reached by plane via the Amerigo Vespucci Airport. From here the historic center is connected:

With the Tram

The T2 line of the Tramway connects Florence Airport with the centre and arrives in Piazza dell’Unità italiana. For more info on the Tramvia timetables click here.


With Taxi service

Contatctable to the numbers +390554643159 al +390554242 or on the web site clicking here.


By train

Florence can be reached by train with the Trenitalia service. Depending on your accommodation needs, you can arrive in Firenze Santa Maria Novella, Firenze Rifredi or Firenze Campo di Marte. With the regional lines then Florence can also be reached from other cities of Tuscany.


Organised Groups with tourist coach

For organised groups by touristic bus, there are drop-off/drop-on points for passengers in the urban centre of Florence (click here to view the points).

Tourist coaches are subject to the payment of a checkpoint (more information here).



By Camper

Camper owners find car parks for campers (only some of these are equipped) in Via delle Porte Sante,, in Via delle Porte Sante, in Viale Abramo Lincoln, in Via Luigi Castaldi, in Largo Alcide De Gasperi, at the Largo Alcide De Gasperi (the latter connected to the center with the Nelli-Torregalli tram stop). For more info on the equipped Campervan areas around Florence click here.

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