Chiostro dello Scalzo, Florence

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Art Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
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The Chiostro della Scalzo or (Via Cavour, 69 vicino a Piazza San Marco) is a cloister in Florence, Italy that originally led to a chapel once belonging to a religious company known as the Compagnia del diciplinati di San Giovanni Battista or della Passione di Cristo. The term "scalzo" makes reference to the barefoot brother who carried the Cross during its public processions.

"Compagnia" (English: "company") was the name given to these Florentine congregations of layman who contributed towards defending Roman Catholicism. Each company had a different practice: the "Laudesi" promoted prayer through the singing of hymns, those for the doctrine taught catechism to children, while the charitable companies offered assistance to the poor. The Compagnia della Scalzo was a disciplined confraternity that practiced penance, often in the form of self-flagellation.

The Compagnia della Scalzo was established in 1376, and used the church of San Giovannino dei Cavalieri on the via San Gallo as early as 1390 for its meetings. When the company purchased land behind this church in the first half of the 15th century, it proceeded towards creating its own premises, which included a chapel (consecrated in 1476, but then totally renovated), the cloister and entrance (1478) still visible today. Back in 1455, it underwent a reform approved by the bishop of Florence, Antoninus, who was made saint in 1523 and who is portrayed in the painted terra-cotta bust now placed in front of the former doorway that led to the chapel.

The brothers wore black hoods with holes to see through and a heavy, black over garment tied around the waist with a white cord; such apparel is documented in the polychrome glazed terra-cotta relief depicting St. John the Baptist and Two Brothers (1510 c.) over the entrance to the cloister from via Cavour. Every first Sunday of the month the company organized a procession and every June 24, the festivities in honor of the city's and its own patron saint, John the Baptist, which today see events like the famous fireworks (I fochi di san Giovanni).
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  • A small church with a beautiful patio. Frescs by Andrea del Sarto vel. Agnolo. Free entrance and no tourists at all. Above the entrance you will find majolika by Della Robbia. If you have just 30... 
    A small church with a beautiful patio. Frescs by Andrea del Sarto vel. Agnolo. Free entrance and no tourists at all. Above the entrance you will find majolika by Della Robbia. If you have just 30...  more »
  • As others have noted, this is one of those special places you are happy to find in Florence. The columned space with the Andrea del Sarto frescoes on the life of St. John the Baptist is lovely... 
    As others have noted, this is one of those special places you are happy to find in Florence. The columned space with the Andrea del Sarto frescoes on the life of St. John the Baptist is lovely...  more »

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