We raced to get here, in the dark, up the steep hill on the south side of Florence in time for the monks to proceed into the lower chapel of this beautiful church on a hill overlooking Florence. The views from out front over the city are spectacular, but the interior of the chapel matches it, with upper and lower chapels. The monks proceed into the small, lower chapel at 6:30 pm for about 45 minutes of a service in chant, which is stunningly beautiful and serene. It was very cold and only 8 or 9 people were in the chapel with us as the monks undertook their mass in late December. It was simply surreal. The acoustics are amazing in the chapel. Monks range in age from very young to very old ... 9 or so participated the evening were there. I am not sure what the religious significance or process they followed was, but it was spiritual and beautiful nonetheless. The overall church is among the most beautiful in Italy and worth a visit day or night, and the views over the city are worth the hike up the hill...it is like getting the view from atop of the Duomo (which we also did) but without the ridiculously long line and wait. A MUST visit church in Italy and a MUST to experience it during a service of chants in the evening.
Btw, no fee to visit the chapel...free...but we left an offering.
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