San Firenze

Big and Baroque

San Firenze

There was originally an old medieval church on this spot dedicated to St Florenzio, an obscure 5th-century follower of St Martin of Tours. The Oratorians, founded by St Philip Neri in Rome in 1575, purchased it in 1640 and replaced it with a richly stuccoed Oratory by Pier Francesco Silvani, and as the popularity of the congregation grew, with a church to the north by Pietro da Cortona, although his original design was changed. Eventually took up the whole side of Piazza San Firenze; after work by several hands the oratory/church/seminary complex was given its final unifying facade by Ferdinando Ruggieri in 1715.

After being suppressed and unsuppressed a couple of times in the 19th century, the church was rededicated to the Immaculate Conception and San Filippo Neri and the seminary was requisitioned for office space and expanded yet again in the 1860s, during the city's brief fling as Italy's capital. Until 2015, the space was partly used by the Florence's law courts as well as the Oratorian Fathers.

Today the Oratory is sometimes used for concerts; the single nave of the church, with its richly gilded ceiling illuminated by clerestory windows, has three altars filled with lugubrious 17th and 18th century paintings.

Practical Info

Piazza San Firenze

Hours Weekdays 8am and at 7pm on Saturdays for Mass.

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