The austere beauty of the façade, designed by Fra Jacopo Talenti and Leon Battista Alberti, is what strikes you immediately. Your gaze will move to embrace the square which has recently undergone a long and important restoration and redevelopment plan. In 2010, this project has been awarded the best renovation of a public space at the Marble Architectural international competition. The square has long been closed due to traffic and automobiles which damaged the pavement and polluted the air, preventing tourists and Florentines from enjoying the space.
The architects chose to place new benches that harmonize with the style of the buildings overlooking the square and special lighting appliances that diffuse a soft light which emphasize the chiaroscuro of the facades and its sharp lines. This renovation has also led people to reacquire the experience of the square and once again enjoy its beauty. It recovered its social role of being a meeting place within this shared and vital space. Thanks to this new context, people can appreciate the Dominican basilica that dominates the square. At first glance, the external architecture will catch your eye, however, it is even more appreciated for the many treasures that it contains such as works by Masaccio, Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi, and Botticelli among others.
It is worth noticing that in the same Church there are two wooden crucifixes by the two Masters, Giotto and Brunelleschi. Giotto's Christ is located in the middle of the central nave and is painted on a cross-shaped panel. He has a naturalistic pose, with his legs bent under the weight of his thin, suffering body. Giotto defines in a realistic way the shading of the body, movements of his long blond hair, and blood that flows in streams from the wounds. He communicates in a meaningful way the painful suffering of the Calvary. Brunelleschi's Christ is carved in wood and then painted. Here too, the search for realism is evident in the attention to anatomical details and proportions. At the same time Brunelleschi sublimates this figure who must not be an ordinary man, but the human representation of the divine. His face does not express pathos, and the position of the body doesn't show fatigue. The anatomical perfection aims to refer to an ideal perfection. A visit to this splendid basilica is therefore a must for people who want to discover absolute masterpieces.
This is the link to book the tour: https://www.madeoftuscany.it/church-santa-maria-novella/