Basilica della Santissima Annunziata

Generale_BasilicaSSAnnunziata
The façade of the Santissima Annunziata Basilica

Age

XIII-XVII centuries

Designers

Neri di Fioravante, Giovanni di Fioravante, Antonio Pucci, Michelozzo di Bartolommeo, Antonio Manetti, Giovanni Battista Caccini.

The Basilica della Santissima Annunziata is located in the homonymous square; it represents the main Marian sanctuary of Firenze. The construction works of the church and the convent (initially the church was called Santa Maria dei Servi di Cafaggio) were begun in 1250 by the brotherhood of the Servants of Mary; the current name derives from the fresco of the Annunciation executed by the painter Bartolomeo and kept inside the church. Today’s aspect is the result of three centuries of works: from 1280 until the first half of the XIV century many internal modifications were done; in the mid XIV century the masters Neri di Fioravante and Giovanni di Fioravante significantly expanded the church; in 1384 fra’ Andrea da Faenza, General Father of the Servants of Mary, entrusted the direction of other important works to the architect Antonio Pucci. In 1444 the works passed to Michelozzo di Bartolommeo and lasted until 1453; they were resumed in 1460 under the direction of Antonio Manetti who realized the central part of the arcade. The external loggia (1601), by Giovanni Battista Caccini, was inserted to connect the façade with the arches of the Spedale degli Innocenti and the Loggia dei Servi di Maria. The “moorish head”, visible both in the floor and on the corner pillars, represents the emblem of the Pucci family that financed the loggia construction. In 1857 a last great restoration was carried out by the architect Giuseppe Poggi.

The columns, the arches, the tympanums and the cornice are realized in Pietra Serena Sandstone. The façade is plastered, traces of frescoes (now replaced by copies), carried out between 1513 and 1514 by Pontormo, were found over the central arch of the external portico, while the central portal is surmounted by a mosaic Annunciation by Davide Ghirlandaio (1509).
The floor of the loggia are in Apuan Marble, Alberese Limestone and Colonnata Black Limestone. The Pucci Family emblems are in Apuan Marble and Colonnata Black Limestone.

The loggia floor in Alberese Limestone and Apuan Marble
The Pucci family emblem in Marble and Colonnata Black Limestone
The column in Pietra Serena Sandstone showing the Pucci emblem