Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Basilica of Saint Minias on the Mountain, Florence, Italy

Basilica of Saint Minias on the Mountain, florence, Italy

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This basilica is situated on the highest point in Florence. It is believed by some to be the finest example of Romanesque structure in Tuscany. St Minias was the first martyr in Florence. His origin is uncertain, it was thought he was possibly a Greek Merchant or Armenian. Wherever he came from he is said to have to traveled to Rome. In about 250 A.D. he became a hermit in Florence. During the persecutions of the Christians by Emperor Decius he was beheaded and legend has it he picked up his head and walked across the Arno and back to his hermitage atop the hill called Mons Fiorentinus. Sometime later a shrine was erected at the site of his hermitage. By the 8 th century there was a chapel on the site. In 1013 Bishop Alibrando began construction of the present church, endowed by Emperor Henry II. It was originally a Benedictine monastery. It later passed to the control of the Cluniac Order, an offshoot of the Benedictines. In 1373 it passed to the Olivetans, the order who run it today.

It is thought the marble facade was probably begun in about 1090. The upper part, dateing from the 12th century or later, was financed by Arte di Calimala (cloth merchants guild. The guild had responsibility for the upkeep of the church from 1288. The eagle at the top of the facade was the symbol of the guild.


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