The buon fresco (true fresco) gives the colours great permanence and resistance to aging, since they are an integral part of the wall surface, rather than a superimposed layer of paint on it. The medium of fresco makes great demands on a painter’s technical skill, since he must work fast (while the plaster is wet) but cannot correct mistakes by overpainting.  Many rich families in the Renaissance purchased big cycles of frescoes to exalt their house and power. Portraits of the members of the house, with plenty of details in clothing and architectural design, were expressly required to the painters. The Tornabuoni found their celebration in the main enormous chapel of Santa Maria Novella Church, and the Sassetti in the Santa Trinita Church. The artist in charge was Domenico Ghirlandaio, the number one of the visual biographers of Renaissance Florence.
Description of the tour:
•    Giovanni Tornabuoni  was the brother of Lucrezia Tornabuoni, and therefore Lorenzo il Magnifico’s uncle. He was director of the family’s bank in Rome, as treasurer of Pope Sixtus IV.The Tornabuoni Chapel in Santa Maria Novella Church is famous for the extensive and well-preserved fresco cycle on its walls, one of the most complete in the city, which was created by Domenico Ghirlandaio and his workshop between 1485 and 1490. One of his youngest collaborators was Michelangelo Buonarroti. He decorated the chapel with the lives of the Virgin and St. John the Baptist, patron of Tornabuoni and of the city of Florence.
•    Francesco Sassetti (1421-1490) was a rich banker and a member of the Medici entourage, for which he directed the Medici Bank. In 1478 he acquired the chapel of St. Francis in Santa Trinita Church, commissioning the decoration to Domenico Ghirlandaio, who portrayed numerous figures of contemporary Florentine society in the scenes, depicting the story of the life of St. Francis from Assisi.

Some details…

Duration: 2,5 Hours
Start time: 2:30 pm
Meeting Point: Piazza della Repubblica, near the Hard Rock Cafe
When: Every day
What we see: Santa Maria Novella, Santa Trinita
Includes: official tour guide of Florence and entrance ticket to the Church of Santa Maria Novella

For further details: or write to

Article by Fantastic Florence


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