the santa reparata excavations in florence, italy

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  The Excavations at Santa Reparata  

Address: Piazza Duomo

The remains of Santa Reparata provide important information about the art, history and topography of Florence. Santa Reparata, the old cathedral of Florence, kept this dedication until 1412. Its oldest remains are probably at the same level as the Roman city, or else at that of the Baptistery.
In 1965 excavations were begun inside the cathedral to recover remains of the oldest church on the site; these brought to light unexpected networks of building pointing to the existence of two churches prior to that of Santa Reparata. The first may be dated to round 780 and from it was found a beautiful parapet carved with figures. After this it seems that the next changes in the building took place in Romanesque times, when the pavement was raised by as much as one metre; the third and last transformation took place as is well known in the thirteenth century when the pavement was again raised to within 90 cm. of its present level. Among all these varying pavement levels were found many fourteenth century pietra serena tombstones, now visible, which had been buried as the various changes took place. The polychrome geometric mosaics from the eighth century pavement are also on show, while on the walls are fresco fragments revealing the various phases and styles of decoration.

One of the more important discoveries was the tomb of Brunelleschi, which dates from the year of his death, 1446. A gallery has been created allowing a view of the exterior of the apse, the structure of the old building; using new support and old architectural elements the crypt has been restored to the appearance it must have had for the faithful of the past.

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