We popped in here early one morning, after our visit to the Bargello. Many of the walls of this Dominican monastery were decorated in pre-Renaissance times, by Father Angelico, and his pupils. The tour begins in the Cloister of St. Antoninus featuing some beautiful lunettes. The Guest Room, where pilgrims were received, is now a gallery for many wonderful panel paintings by Fra Angelico.Head to the Chapter House for his complex and allegorical Crucifixion. Don’t miss the Refectories. The small refectory is dominated by Domenico Ghirlandaio’s Last Supper. I loved the detail in this painting – the crockery, decanters, knives, bread etc. The lunettes above the table are filled with large trees and birds in flight, an open window frames a perching peacock, and a cat waits for scraps.
The tour continues on the first floor. At the top of the stairs, you will see Fra Angelico’s Annunciation. You can then peek into 43 monks cells which are decorated with simple frescoes, many by Fra Angelico. The last three cells (12-14) at the end of the corridor to the left, were once used by Girolamo Savonarola before he was hanged and in Piazza della Signoria. At the end of the corridor to the right, Cells 38 and 39 were reserved as a spiritula retreat for the Medici Cosimo the Elder.