Most of the great churches of Florence would have been unknown to the Templars as they were crushed in 1307 and the places we now see were largely adorned in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. But one church – and I adore it – captures the early medieval period in Italy. Covered on the outside in Byzantine-style mosaics and in the inside, a beautiful and simple Romanesque structure. San Miniato is the one church in Florence were my spine tingles when I go in.
Built by Bishop Hildebrand in the early 11th century, there was already a pre-existing Roman era chapel on the site. The raised presbytery and pulpit reference Roman christian architecture heavily. It was originally a Benedictine monastery and an interesting feature is the signs of the Zodiac traced out in mosaic on the floor. Here are some photos I took on a visit.