Piazza della Santissima Annunziata is, by far, overtopped by the homonymous church, so dear to Florentines by force of a legendary account as to the origins of this religious edifice. As the story goes, a friar of the Servite Order started to paint the scene of the Annunciation, but dissatisfied with its lack on inspiration, he fell asleep only to wake up later and to see this work has been finished by an angel. This allegedly genuine episode is the underlying cause of the increasing popularity the church saw in the past, huge flows of pilgrims venerating the miraculous painting. The prominent place where they used to light their candles was later transformed into the so-called Chiostrino dei Voti (the Votive Cloister). The veneration of the painting was further materialized into the several hundreds of copies of it existing in Florence during the 18th century.

The legendary account aside, the Church of the Holy Annunciation clusters a fair amount of masterpieces which yield, in fact, its real worth. Michelozzo, Bernardo Rossellino, Baccio Bandinelli, Pietro Tacca Perugino, Bernardino Poccetti, Andrea Castagno and Andrea del Sarto have all shared in to the artistic asset of the edifice. However, the presence of the church is complemented by several bronze fountains built by Pietro di Tacca, coauthor, along with Giambologna, of the statue which renders Fernando I Medici, located in the very center of the piazza. In addition, Piazza della Santissima Annunziata borders upon other notable tourist objectives of Florence, such as the Palazzo Riccardi-Manelli (also referred to as the Palazzo Grifoni), the National Archeological Museum of Florence and the Institute (Spedale) degli Innocenti, not to mention the close proximity to Piazza del Duomo and the Museum and Church of San Marco, all these features enhancing exponentially the tourist visibility and accessibility of Piazza della Santissima Annunziata. A genuine tourist circuit, one might say, and they would definitely be right.

Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, Florence

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