Florence was a city known to the Knights Templar as one of the great centres of civilisation in medieval Italy. They may even have developed their primitive banking operation by watching the activities of Florentine merchants who were very commercially sophisticated by the standards of the time.
Most of medieval Florence we see today would have been unknown to the Templars being built or renovated after the fall of the order in 1307. But there is one church I think the knights would have known and loved as much as I do!
San Miniato – treasure of medieval Florence
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 a historical site 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.