The Basilica of the Holy Trinity, a variety of architecture styles over the centuries
The Basilica of the Holy Trinity (Basilica di Santa Trinita) is located in front of the Piazza Santa Trinita and traversed by the very famous Via de’ Tornabuoni, well-known for hosting the most important high fashion boutiques. The Basilica of the Holy Trinity is also the mother church of the religious order of the Vallumbrosan, founded by a Florentine nobleman in 1092.
The Basilica of the Holy Trinity
The current Basilica of the Holy Trinity was constructed between 1258 and 1280 in the place where there was another 11th-century church. Since over the centuries multiple reconstructions occurred, when you visit this church you have the feeling of doing a trip among the different architecture styles, but what are them?
The façade, rebuilt between 1593 and 1594, is Mannerist and was designed by Bernardo Buontalenti.
However, if you enter the church and turn around, you will notice the Romanesque stonework that emerged when the building was restored. Thanks to the same restoration, the floor of the 11thcentury church was revealed together with a crypt.
The floor mosaics that belonged to the previous church are now in the Bargello museum but the capitals of the columns of the crypt are still in the Basilica of the Holy Trinity, Pietro Bernini and Giovanni Battista Caccini sculpted the relief over the central door, while the 17th century wooden doors were carved as a remembrance of Vallombrosan saints.
The masterpieces of the Basilica of the Holy Trinity
Among the masterpieces that you can find in the Basilica of the Holy Trinity, there are the beautiful works realized by Lorenzo Monaco in the Cialli-Seringi chapel.
The peculiarity of this chapel is that Monaco mixes different styles: he uses the High Gothic style for the Annunciation on the altar, but the frescoes on the walls reveal that the artist knew the new developments in painting introduced by Masaccio (one of the most important Florentine Renaissance artist).
In the Sassetti family chapel you will admire the Domenico Ghirlandaio’s masterpieces: we are now int the High Renaissance.
The most important are the scenes from the life of Saint Francis since they work also as a historic document: the painting shows the old façade of the Basilica of the Holy Trinity realized with the Romanesque style, together with the Holy Trinity bridge as it was before the great flood of 1557.
With the San Pietro chapel we enter the Baroque with a rush, thanks to the wonderful representation of “Christ walks on water to save Peter”.
The Holy Trinity Bridge, one of the most elegant bridges in Europe
Considered one of the most beautiful bridges in Italy and Europe, the Holy Trinity Bridge will fascinate you with its elegance.
The Holy Trinity Bridge (Ponte Santa Trinita) is a Renaissance bridge over the Arno river in Florence. This bridge takes the name from the close Basilica of the Holy Trinity and is considered the oldest elliptic arch bridge in the world. The two neighboring bridges are the Ponte alla Carraia to the west and the famous Old Bridge (Ponte Vecchio) to the east.
The history of the Holy Trinity Bridge
The Holy Trinity bridge as we know it today was realized between 1567 and 1569 by the Florentine architect Bartolomeo Ammannati according to a project made by Michelangelo.
Previously there was another bridge made of wood constructed in 1252 that collapsed due to the weight of people while they were watching a show in the Arno river.
Seven years later the Holy Trinity bridge was rebuilt in stone but unfortunately less than one century later, in 1333, was destroyed by a flood.
The reconstruction lasted sixty years (1356-1415). The new bridge was designed by the Florentine artist Taddeo Gaddi but was destroyed in the flood of 1557, that brought to Ammannati’s replacement. Unlike the Old Bridge, the Holy Trinity bridge was destroyed by retreating German troops between 3 and 4 August 1944.
A temporary bridge was reconstructed and then replaced in 1958 with a bridge made of stones raised from the Arno river by the engineer Emilio Brizzi and the architect Riccardo Gizdulich.
The statues of the four Seasons on the Holy Trinity Bridge
In 1608, as part of the wedding celebrations of the duke Cosimo II de’ Medici with Maria Magdalena of Austria, were added to the Holy Trinity Bridge four statues of the Seasons. These statues were realized by different artists: Pietro Francavilla designed the Spring, Giovanni Caccini (who worked also at the Basilica of the Holy Trinity) realized the Summer and the Autumn, and Taddeo Landini realized the Winter.
After the destruction of the Holy Trinity Bridge in 1944, the statue of the Spring disappeared and it was recovered from the bed of the Arno river only in 1961.
Join one of the tours made by the guides of the Free Tour Florence – Another Florence association if you want know something else about the Basilica of the Holy Trinity and the Holy Trinity Bridge!