Unveiling the Brancacci Chapel: A Renaissance Gem in Florence Tours

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brancacci chapel florence

Florence is synonymous with art and beauty, not only in Italy but worldwide. Rich in museums, churches, squares, monuments, and bridges, the Florentine city is enjoyable in every season of the year. That’s why a stay in the Tuscan capital is an essential stop if you are planning a trip to the Bel Paese, exploring its history and culture.

Whether you have a few days or an entire week at your disposal, your itinerary in Florence must include, in addition to the Uffizi, the Church of Santa Maria Novella, Piazza della Signoria, and the Boboli Gardens, just to name a few of the most visited and admired places in Florence. There’s also a small Renaissance masterpiece a few steps from the Basilica of Santo Spirito and Palazzo Pitti.

Exploring Florence’s Hidden Renaissance Gem: The Brancacci Chapel

We are talking about the marvelous Brancacci Chapel, housed in the transept of the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine, founded in the 1200s by the Carmelite friars who had moved to Florence.

The chapel welcomes visitors with rich frescoes by the genius of Masaccio and Masolino da Panicale, who, at the time, often collaborated due to their artistic affinity. The cycle of frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino, narrating “The Stories of St. Peter,” was commissioned by Felice Brancacci. It was considered a milestone of the early Florentine Renaissance for its meticulous study of light, color, and perspective. Michelangelo himself visited the chapel, newly frescoed, to study its style in greater detail, inspiring his masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

However, the frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino remained unfinished for reasons still unknown. Additionally, following Felice Brancacci’s fall from grace, the effigies of characters with any connection to the Brancacci family were erased. It was only fifty years later that the work was completed by Filippino Lippi.

On the altar of the Brancacci Chapel is another remarkable work: the Madonna del Popolo, a panel from the second half of the 13th century. On the vault, you can admire Vincenzo Meucci’s Madonna del Carmine, and in the lunettes, frescoes from 1765, where the Evangelists and other Stories of St. Peter by Masolino were originally.

The Restoration of the Brancacci Chapel

After the grandeur of the Renaissance that elevated Florence, the city and the chapel experienced a phase of extreme decline, ending only in the 1800s. It was only in the 20th century, precisely in the 1980s, that the frescoes were restored and brought back to their ancient splendor with the total reinstatement of the original colors’ brilliance.

Opening Hours

The Brancacci Chapel is open on Monday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and on Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm, always by appointment.