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Santa Maria de' Ricci

Church of Organ Concerts

Story of Antonio Giuseppe Rinaldeschi

In 1501, a young Florentine named Antonio Rinaldeschi went out drinking at the once notorious Osteria del Fico and lost all his florins at the dice table. Drunk and furious, he wove down the street cussing and spewing blasphemies (with a little red devil sitting on his shoulder, according to the scene on the panels above) and when he espied the image of the Annunciation on the side of the (now long gone) church of Santa Maria degli Alberghi, he picked up a horse turd and hurtled it at the painting.

There were fearful and uncertain times, and as the panels show, Rinaldeschi was pursued on the order of Piero Soderini, who had recently made gonfaloniere for life. He bundled off to the Bargello, and tried by the Signore Otto (the Tribunal of Eight) and condemned to death, and hanged out the window while an angel and devil seem to be gambling for his soul.

Interior of the church

The Ricci famly founded this squarish church in 1508 as an expiatory gesture, and it was later given a quietly restrained Baroque remake; the damaged painting, believed to have been made miraculous after Rinaldeschi's attentions, now holds pride of place (behind glass) on the altar. Confusingly, the church is sometimes known as Santa Margherita; the first chapel holds a 15th-century painting of St Marherite of Antioch.

A new pipe organ was installed in 1989 (a Chichi opus 168, for cognoscenti who know about such things), and in the church hosts free nightly organ concerts.

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Via del Corso 10

Hours Concerts at 9.15pm, at 6pm on Saturdays

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Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Comune di Firenze, Sailko, GNU Free Documentation License