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Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia, Florence

(4.8/5 based on 85+ reviews on the web)
Ring the bell at the nondescript door to enter Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia, a crowd-free site filled with gorgeous murals. The highlight at this small convent is Andrea del Castagno's fresco of the Last Supper. This and other frescoes, done rapidly in watercolor on wet plaster, adorn the walls of the convent. Because this type of mural is not common, these works can leave quite an impression. Entry is free and includes a leaflet with information about the convent and the paintings it houses. The lack of tourists here makes the experience quite personal. To visit Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia on your holiday in Florence, and find out what else Florence has to offer, use our Florence holiday planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Can't miss in the Florentine circles, which is definitely one of the most important works, particularly the use of perspective, so it is recommended to change your point of observation inside the refectory. Free visit, short but valid.
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  • A nice supper you can see completely free of charge which is rare for my grade in Florence!
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  • I found this place by accident and I was struck by the beauty of the frescoes inside and
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Google
  • Wanna see some gorgeous Renaissance frescoes? Tired of milelong lines? This is the place for you guys. Something you could boast of having seen. And admission is for free.
  • Yet another great Last Supper fresco with a handful of other great artworks.
  • So easy to walk by this nunnery which was suppressed (and ignored by Vasari) and miss the Refectory (Cenacolo/Il Refettorio) where Andrea del Castagno filled one wall with his Last Supper. I had wondered about the marbled squares behind the Apostles in framed symmetrical squares. The "Madonna in Shadows" by Fra Angelico in the nearby Dominican church of San Marco, now a museum, holds the key. The painting is an altarpiece with marble predellas. Meditating on the now faded bread and wine is all very well, but apparently one is meant to look for deeper details and symbolism in the marbles themselves. Having that third glass of wine on high days and holy days possibly helped these dear strictly secluded souls contemplate more imaginatively.
  • Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia is graced with amazing frescoes by Andrea del Castagno, with Last Supper being his masterpiece. The artist painted it in 1450, towards the end of his very short life. This great fresco is much less known than its counterparts with the same name by ubiquitous Renaissance artists, but what is amazing here is that Andrea lived and painted it long before Leonardo and other more famous artists. One is struck by the well-structured composition, noble austerity of the detail, meticulous perspective reminding of his other contemporary Tuscan artist Piero della Francesca. The Cenacolo was once used by the nuns of this Camaldolese convent. It is somewhat away from the beaten track and we visited it on a route I made for this part of the city: 1). Chiostro dello Scalzo - with Andrea del Sarto frescoes 2). Museo di San Marco - Fra Angelico & assistance 3). Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia 4). Cenacolo di Foligno - Perugino's Last Supper All four museums are highly recommended. Their additional advantage is that they can be enjoyed in a surprising solitude, far from the unbearably crowded atmosphere of Uffizi. It is also allowed to photograph in Chistro dello Scalzo and in Sant'Apollonia. The only challenge is to verify the visit hours which at the time of our visit in March, 2012 were quite chaotic and required diligent advance planning. It turned very helpful to visit the Tourist Information Center at Palazzo Medici-Riccardi (where you can view Benozzo Gozzoli and Luca Giordano frescoes) to obtain the most recent opening/closing times for these museums.
  • There is a masterpiece by Andrea del Castagno (last supper) plus some interesting paintings and other pieces. Not to be missed.
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