Ognissanti (50)

The Church of Ognissanti or "All Saints" was completed in 1239. It was originally owned by the Umiliati, wool specialists to whom the government of Florence conceded the land in order that they could settle and develop the industry. However, shortly after construction of the church it was handed over to the Vespucci family, importers from the Orient. No doubt you are aware that is was one of the members of this family, Amerigo, who discovered the New World on one of his trips, lending his name to the American continent.

The second chapel on the right is dedicated to the Vespucci family. Visitors here will find a fresco painted by Domenico Ghirlandaio in 1472 and representing "Our Lady of Mercy" and, next to it on the right, a portrait of the young Amerigo. In addition, beneath the left hand of the Virgin is the beautiful Simonetta Vespucci, whose beauty was famous in her day, but who died tragically of tuberculosis aged just 23. 

In the southern nave you will also find frescoes of "St. Augustine" by Botticelli, and "St. Jerome", by Ghirlandaio. The two frescoes complement each other and were created at the same time, in the year 1480. Visitors may also be interested to know Sandro Botticelli himself is buried in this church. 

Finally, you should visit the cloister and the refectory, where you can enjoy another Ghirlandaio fresco: "The Last Supper", which features a beautiful backdrop of birds and trees. 

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