San Miniato al Monte

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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 one of the finest Romanesque structures in Tuscany and one of the most scenic churches in Italy. There is an adjoining Olivetan monastery, seen to the right of the basilica when ascending the stairs.[1]


St. Miniato or Minas (Armenian: Մինաս) was an Armenian prince serving in the Roman army under Emperor Decius.[2] 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.[3] 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 adjoining monastery began as a Benedictine community, then passed to the Cluniacs and then in 1373 to the Olivetans, who still run it. The monks make famous liqueurs, honey and herbal teas, which they sell from a shop next to the church.


  1. Borgi di Toscana: Basilica of san minato al Monte, Florence Template:Webarchive
  2. Hare, Augustus John Cuthbert (2002). Florence. Adamant Media Corporation. p. 204. ISBN 978-1-4021-5933-6. 
  3. Brucker, Gene (1998). Florence: The Golden Age, 1138-1737. University of California Press. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-520-21522-1. 

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