The San Miniato al Monte Millennial
In spring, Florence lights up with an even more magical light, which makes it shine in all its beauty. A must at this time of year is, undoubtedly, Piazzale Michelangelo, able to give those who visit a breathtaking panoramic view. Not too far away, on one of the highest points of the city, lies another little gem that today will inaugurate the year of celebrations for its millennial: the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte.
"Haec est Porta Coeli": this is the door of heaven, bears the inscription on the Holy Door of the basilica, recalling Jacob’s biblical expression, in the Book of Genesis in which he dreams of the ladder to heaven. And for anyone nearing this marvelous example of Florentine Romanesque architecture, the sensation is precisely that of being faced with a sort of entry into the divine house: a combination of fear and cathartic inspiration.
And with the restoration of the three doors, which open onto their naves, the rich calendar of events to celebrate the thousand years of the basilica was inaugurated. A great deal of historical and technical research: for example, some lost nails were forged again by hand.
The Holy Door would rise on the burial place of the protomartyr Miniato, killed in the persecutions of Decio in 250. In fact, to worthily protect the relics of the saint, the Florentine bishop Ildebrando commissioned to build this magnificent building in 1018.
The unmistakable style, the marble inlays and the characteristic bichrome, will be carried on by the great Florentine architects in the centuries to come, including Brunelleschi who will use the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte as an example and inspiration.