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Rotonda di Santa Maria degli Angeli

Brunelleschi's Inspirational Gem

Rotondo di S. Maria degli Angeli

This octagonal church was one of Brunelleschi’s last works, commissioned by the heirs of the condotierre Filippo degli Scolari (also known as Pippo Spano), who died in 1426, leaving 5000 gold florins to the Arte di Calimala to build a church for the Camaldolese convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

It was one of the first centralized buildings of the Renaissance. Work begun in 1434, but money ran out not long after it was begun; it was given a wooden roof and it was only completed by the University in the 1930s and is now filled with offices; only the interior accurately reflects the architect's original Pantheon-inspired plan.

Brunelleschi's plan

In its day, the Convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli was famous for its scholarship and Scriptorium, which produced exquisite copies of manuscripts; in the 14th and 15th centuries, the sons of rich Florentine merchants, including Cosimo il Vecchio, came here to learn their Latin, French and German, and had their early grounding in the classics. Lorenzo Monaco was a brother and painted many of his works for the church, all of which are now elsewhere.

What remains of convent has been entirely incorporated into the university hospital of Santa Maria Nuova).

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Via degli Alfani

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by Sailko, GNU Creative Commons License, Wikiwand