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Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

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This article is about the cathedral. You may be looking for the district of a similar name.
Basilica di Santa Maria Novella
Santa maria novella
Political information

One of Florence's most famous cathedrals.


Santa Maria Novella District, Florence, Italy

Date constructed

13th century – 1470

Historical information


Additional information
Notable features

Assassin Tomb (Darius)

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 Leone Battista Alberti designed the upper facade, 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.

Pazzi ConspiracyEdit

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.

Deep within the basilica lay hidden the tomb of Darius, which was explored by the Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze shortly after he overheard the conspirators meeting.


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