The 14th-century church of San Giovannino dei Cavalieri ('Little St John of the Knights') was completed in 1730s after undergoing a number of changes over the centuries. It started as Celestine oratory, with a convent shelter for prostitutes dedicated to Mary Magdelene. When the Celestines were moved to San Michele Visdomini in 1550, it was rededicated and slowly rebuilt by the Hospitaller nuns (a kind of ladies' auxilary to the Knights of Malta to St Nicolas of Bari. But everyone called it 'Beheaded St John' before taking its current name. Its unusual facade emblazoned with a Cross of Malta dates from 1699.
Inside, you are greeted by an enormous lobby and a tall nave, with lower aisles on either side. There are paintings well worth seeking out: a jam packed golden Nativity by Bicci di Lorenzo, a Last Supper by Venetian Palma Giovane, Coronation of the Virgin by Bicci's son, Neri di Bicci with an exceptional predella.
In the apse, there's a Crucifix from the original church, frescoed by Lorenzo Monaco along with an Annunciation by the Master of the Castello Nativity. The high altar itself has a curious trompe l'oeil tabernacle, the only one of its kind in Florence.
Via S. Gallo 66
Hours Generally open from 10am-noon, and 4-6pm
+39 055 470864
Images by: Sailko, GNU Free Documentation License