- This article is about the cathedral. You may be looking for the district of a similar name.
The Basilica di Santa Maria Novella, known also as the New Basilica of Saint Mary, was a church located in Florence. It was chronologically the first great basilica, as well as the city's principal Dominican church.
The first great basilica in Florence, Santa Maria Novella was consecrated in 1420, despite being unfinished. The famous humanist Leon Battista Alberti designed the upper façade, completing the church in 1470.
However, Santa Maria Novella's origins extended back to an ancient oratory before the Crusades, located on the same site, with a hidden tomb underneath.
The church, the adjoining cloister, and chapter house contained a store of art treasures and funerary monuments; especially famous within the building are frescoes by masters of Gothic and early Renaissance artwork. They were financed through the generosity of the most important Florentine families, who ensured themselves of funerary chapels on consecrated ground.
During their reign, the Medici family often visited Santa Maria Novella for Mass. In 1478, the basilica played host to a meeting of the Pazzi family and other Templars, who were conspiring to commit the assassination of Lorenzo de' Medici and his brother, Giuliano.