The Orsanmichele Church is located in a former granary in Florence. This church houses a number of sculptures made by the most famous artists of the Renaissance period. Unfortunately, these are on the second floor, which is rarely accessible to tourists.
Orsanmichele Church Florence
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
The address of the church is Via Arte della Lana, 1 – Florence. Tel.: +39 055210305. Opening Hours: Every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
History and description
The Orsanmichele Church looks more like a warehouse than a church. The explanation for this is simple: The building, built in 1337, was originally a granary and a grain market.
However, after the apparition of the Madonna, in the form of a miraculous statue on a column inside the barn, the lower floor was converted into a chapel.
The various guilds of Florence then each decorated one of the niches on the outside of the chapel with a statue of their patron saint. For this purpose, famous artists such as Ghiberti, Donatello, Verrocchio and Giambologna were hired. Some of the original versions of these statues can now be seen on the second floor. The statues on the ground floor are copies of the originals.
Interior of the Orsanmichele Church
Inside, the Gothic tabernacle, made by Andrea Orcagna between 1349 and 1359, stands out. It is reminiscent of a miniature church and is adorned with sculptures, glasses and other decorations and reliefs.
The “Madonna with Child” is painted by Bernardo Daddi (a student of Giotto). Miracles were attributed to this painting during the plague epidemic (1348-1350).
The sculpture “Madonna, Child and Saint Anna” is by Francesco da Sangallo (1522).
Art Moved Elsewhere
The “Triptych of Saint Matthew” was painted by Orcagna and Jacopo di Cione. Originally it was painted around 1367 and attached to a pillar inside the church. The work of art commissioned by this Guild of Money Changers is now on display in the Uffizi Gallery.
The second floor can be reached via the Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana. This palace, built in 1308, was the headquarters of the wool traders. In the 13th and 14th centuries no less than a third of the inhabitants of the city worked for this guild.
Here you will find the already mentioned original statues, including Donatello‘s “Saint Mark” (1411-13) and Verrocchio‘s “The Disbelief of Saint Thomas” (1473-83). “John the Baptist” (1413-1416) was made by Ghiberti and was the first life-size sculpture from the Renaissance.
Unfortunately, this space is rarely open to the general public.