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Interior of the church San Miniato al Monte - my favorite in Florence.

San Miniato al Monte (St. Minias on the Mountain) is a basilica in Florence, central Italy, standing atop one of the highest points in the city. It has been described as the finest Romanesque structure in Tuscany and one of the most beautiful churches in Italy.

St. Miniato was an Armenian prince serving in the Roman army under Emperor Decius. He was denounced as a Christian after becoming a hermit and was brought before the Emperor who was camped outside the gates of Florence. The Emperor ordered him to be thrown to beasts in the Amphitheatre where a panther was called upon him but refused to devour him. Beheaded in the presence of the Emperor, he is alleged to have picked up his head, crossed the Arno and walked up the hill of Mons Fiorentinus to his hermitage. A shrine was later erected at this spot and there was a chapel there by the 8th century. Construction of the present church was begun in 1013 by Bishop Alibrando and it was endowed by the Emperor Henry II.

The geometrically patterned marble façade was probably begun in about 1090, although the upper parts date from the 12th century or later .

The interior is extremely unusual, with the choir raised on a platform above the large crypt, and has changed little since it was first built. The patterned pavement dates from 1207.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11575 W: 123 N: 29428] (138724)
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