The “Santo Spirito” Church, built between 1444 and 1487 and consecrated in 1481, designed by the architect Filippo Brunelleschi according to a Latin cross plan and completed by his pupils, is considered as one of the masterpieces of the Florentine Renaissance. Located in Santo Spirito square, in Oltrarno, the Basilica belongs to the order of the Augustinian friars. The High Altar, in Baroque style, was built in the seventeenth century.
The Basilica also hosts the famous wooden Crucifix sculpted by Michelangelo Buonarroti for the Prior who allowed him to pursue, his studies of anatomy among the walls of the church, as well as other works of art of absolute value hosted in the past as the “Pala Barbadori” by Filippino Lippi, the “Madonna Bardi” and “Sant’Agostino nello Studio” by Botticelli, the “Apparizione della Vergine a San Bernardo” by Pietro Perugino, the “Visitazione con i Santi Nicola e Antonio” by Piero Di Cosimo, the “Madonna del Baldacchino” by Raffaello and the “Pala Dei” by Rosso Fiorentino. The facade of the Basilica is incomplete and it became a symbol for the city of Florence, now recognized by everybody and part of the folk culture, also thanks to movie masterpieces like “Amici miei”, the movie written and directed by the famous italian film director Mario Monicelli. The last scene of the film, the funeral of the journalist Giorgio Perozzi, admirably played by the french actor Philippe Noiret, take place exactly in the Basilica of Santo Spirito.
The Chiostro Grande projected by the mannerist architect Bartolomeo Ammannati became the military district in December 1870, and was renamed today, “Centro Documentale dell’Esercito Italiano” (Italian army’s documentation centre).
The Basilica is adorned with a ball and a golden cross, similar to the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral.
The ball, today, is in restoration. Restoration assigned to the florentine restorer Simone Beneforti, who belongs to a restorers family through generations, and possible by the contribution of Giusto Manetti Battiloro, whose genuine gold leaves will shine on the Cross of Santo Spirito for the next decades.