History of the Basilica and the Holy Gates
The Basilica of San Miniato is built between 11 to 13 centuries. The exterior of the Basilica is decorated with the marbles of white and green in color the geometrical patterns similar to the ones that one can find at the facades of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce. The mosaic dated back to 12th century decorates façade on a central window.
St Minias, at the name of whom the Basilica is erected, is the first martyr who was possibly an Armenian price or Greek Merchant who was very rich and led his life with great luxury. He left his home for a pilgrimage to Rome. He reached Florence in 250 and then lived there as a hermit. He was beheaded during the anti-Christian persecution during the time of Emperor Decius but the myth says that he picked up his head and crossed Arno to walk up the hill Mons Fiorentinus to the Hermitage. The shrine was erected later on the spot where there existed a chapel during the 8th century. It was during 1013 that the church’s construction commenced.
The construction of the cemetery started very late and then it was opened by the year 1848. The holy gates, which is the cemetery near to this Basilica, is thus much new compared to the church. The cemetery was constructed by the architect Niccola Matas and was upgraded by Mariano Falcini in the year 1864.
What to See at the Basilica and Holy Gates
The interior of the Basilica is indeed very unusual with choir raised above the platform that is there above the large crypt. The pavement is patterned which dates back to 1207. The Cappella del Crocefisso dominates the central nave which is designed by Michelozzo in the year 1448. Crypt forms oldest part of the church and the higher altar is supposed to have bones of the St Minias.
The Holy Gates has the graves of many of the popular personalities and even include family tombs of Vespucci family, Stanislaw Paszkowski. The popular personalities buried in this cemetery are Carlo Collodi, Petro Annigogi, Otton roseLibero Andreotti, Maro Cecchi Gor and his Valeria etc.
The holy gates offer a meeting with history and a magnificent view of the city, Florence from the hill where it is located.