Badia Fiorentina

Via del Proconsolo 1. (Open Map)


The Badia Fiorentina is an abbey and church now home to the Fraternity of Jerusalem situated on the Via del Proconsolo in the centre of Florence, Italy. Dante supposedly grew up across the street in what is now called the 'Casa di Dante', rebuilt in 1910 as a museum to Dante (though in reality unlikely to be his real home). He would have heard the monks singing the Mass and the Offices here in Latin Gregorian chant, as he famously recounts in his Commedia: "Florence, within her ancient walls embraced, Whence nones and terce still ring to all the town, Abode aforetime, peaceful, temperate, chaste". In 1373, Boccaccio delivered his famous lectures on Dante's Divine Comedy in the subsidiary chapel of Santo Stefano, just next to the north entrance of the Badia's church. 
The abbey was founded as a Benedictine institution in 978 by Willa, Countess of Tuscany, in commemoration of her late husband Hubert, and was one of the chief buildings of medieval Florence. A hospital was founded in the abbey in 1071. The church bell marked the main divisions of the Florentine day. Between 1284 and 1310 the Romanesque church was rebuilt in Gothic style, but in 1307 part of the church was demolished to punish the monks for non-payment of taxes. The church underwent a Baroque transformation between 1627 and 1631. The prominent campanile, completed between 1310 and 1330, is Romanesque at its base and Gothic in its upper stages. Its construction was overseen by the famous chronicler Giovanni Villani.
Today the Badia is the home to a congregation of monks and nuns known as the Fraternita' di Gerusalemme. They have sung vespers at 6pm and mass at 6:30pm every day. Locals and tourists alike claim attending their Vespers or Mass to be one of the most beautiful experiences in Florence.
Major works of art in the church include the Apparition of the Virgin to St. Bernard (c. 1486) by Filippino Lippi (originally commissioned by Piero del Pugliese for his chapel at Chiesa di Santa Maria del Santo Sepolcro or delle Campora) and the tombs of Willa's son Hugh, Margrave of Tuscany (died 1001) and the lawyer and diplomat Bernardo Giugni (1396–1456), both by Mino da Fiesole (latter completed c. 1466). The murals in the apse were completed by Giovanni Domenico Ferretti in 1734.
The attached Chiostro degli Aranci (Cloister of the Oranges) contains a fresco cycle (c. 1435–1439) on the life of St Benedict, whom many attribute to the Portuguese painter Giovanni di Consalvo, a generally unknown follower of Fra Angelico. They are more likely the work of Zanobi di Benedetto Strozzi (1412–68) under the guidance of Angelico himself. The fourth scene in the cycle was repainted c. 1526-1528 (St. Benedict chastising himself) by the young Bronzino. The cloister itself was built under the direction of Antonio di Domenico della Parte and Giovanni d'Antonio da Maiano, with some assistance by Bernardo Rossellino.
The Badia Polyptych by Giotto, now at the Uffizi Gallery, was originally located in the church.