The Santa Maria Novella district, nestled in the vibrant heart of Florence, is where the city’s central station is located and the starting point for visiting the city. It offers a mosaic of cultural, historical, and sensory experiences that reflect the essence of the Renaissance city. Here, history merges with modern art, and tradition meets innovation in every street, square, and building. Let’s explore together some of the must-visit spots in this fascinating area.
1. Santa Maria Novella Station and the underground shopping gallery
The Santa Maria Novella Station is not only a major railway hub but also a masterpiece of modernist architecture. Inside, the underground shopping gallery turns a simple transfer into a pleasant experience.
This commercial space offers a variety of shops, from fashion boutiques to souvenir stores, ideal for a memento of the Florentine experience, not to mention bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a moment of relaxation. A great starting point to purchase a beautiful reminder of your trip.
- Website: Stores SMN
2. Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, one of the most significant architectural jewels of Florence, represents a meeting point of beauty, spirituality, and art history.
Its imposing façade, a majestic creation by Leon Battista Alberti, serves as a magnificent prelude to the extraordinary collection of Renaissance art inside. Within, the aisles and chapels reveal priceless masterpieces by masters such as Masaccio and Ghirlandaio, offering visitors an exciting journey through the artistic and religious traditions that have shaped Florence. The basilica is not only a place of worship but also an art gallery that documents the evolution of Florentine painting, enriching the experience of its visitors with a profound sense of connection to the past.
Every corner, from frescoes to sculptures, tells stories of faith, art, and innovation, making the visit to Santa Maria Novella a complete immersion in the culture and spirit of the Florentine Renaissance.
Below you will find all the information for visiting the Basilica
- Website: Opera per Santa Maria Novella
3. Museo del Novecento
For contemporary art enthusiasts, the Museo del Novecento is a must-visit destination. Located in the charming setting of Piazza Santa Maria Novella, within the ancient Spedale delle Leopoldine, the museum offers a deep exploration of Italian art from the 20th and 21st centuries.
Opened on June 24, 2014, the museum displays a meticulous selection of works from the civic collections of Florence, allowing visitors to traverse Italian artistic history from the first half of the 20th century to the present day. Among its rooms, one can admire masterpieces by artists of the caliber of De Chirico, Morandi, and Fontana, in addition to temporary exhibitions, installations, and special projects that enrich the cultural offering, providing a comprehensive overview of the evolution of modern and contemporary art in Italy.
Below is the official website of the Museo del Novecento in Florence:
- Website: museonovecento.it
4. Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella
The Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, founded in 1221 by Dominican friars, is the oldest pharmacy in the world, located in the heart of Florence. This historic place, which originally served as a convent, is today a must-visit destination for those visiting the city, offering free access to an authentic museum where one can discover secrets of ancient recipes and admire environments that tell centuries-old stories.
From its botanical garden, the friars began to prepare medicines, ointments, and balms that have gained worldwide fame. In 1533, it created the “Acqua della Regina” for Caterina de’ Medici, the ancestor of modern perfumes, thus marking the history of European perfumery. Formally recognized in 1612 by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the Officina has kept its legacy alive, combining tradition and innovation.
Today, visitors from all over the world can explore the boutique-museum at Via della Scala 16, where perfumes, cosmetics, herbal teas, and body care products are sold, the result of centuries of artisanal wisdom. The Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is not just a shop, but a place where Florentine history blends with a passion for beauty and well-being, continuing to enchant with its “ancient preparations” and its timeless atmosphere.
The Santa Maria Novella district, the cultural and historical heart of Florence, is the ideal starting point for exploring the city. Our bed and breakfast, located in this vibrant area, offers guests direct access to its countless attractions, immersing them in the authentic Florentine atmosphere. From here, it’s easy to reach other wonders of Florence, ensuring a pleasant return to a welcoming and historic environment. Santa Maria Novella invites you to discover Florence with enthusiasm, making every day a memorable adventure.