Chiesa Santissima Annunziata
(Italian pronunciation: kee-ay-zah   sahn-tee-see-mah   ah-noon-tsee-ah-tah)

SS. Annunziata is an old church rebuilt between 1450 and 1481 and modified several times in the following centuries. In order to visually relate it to the already existing Spedale degli Innocenti it was preceded by a cloister and by a portico. The central bay of the portico was designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder in 1518, while the rest of it was completed towards the end of the XVIth century. By an artful "stretching" of Brunelleschi's design the height of the portico was made consistent with that of Spedale degli Innocenti.

Originally an oratory (1250) of the order of the Servi di Maria, the building stood outside the second circle of the city walls.  Between 1444 and 1481 Michelozzo, Pagno Portinari and Antonio Manetti (with suggestions from L.B. Alberti) remodelled it into its present form.  The facade has a portico on Corinthian columns.  The interior, remodelled in the middle of the 17th century, has a single large nave with the arched openings of the chapels set on either side.  To be noted is Volterrano's magnificent coffered ceiling (1664).

The interior of the church is very dark and the ceiling is decorated with a fresco by Pietro Giambelli (1669). This site contains a famous relic: the fresco of the Annunciazione that, according to legend, was started in 1252 by a monk and completed by an angel.  In the crypt is buried Benvenuto Cellini.

The central portal leads to the 1447 Chiostro dei Voti (above), a particularly scenographic space with lunettes frescoed by Rosso Fiorentino, Pontormo, Andrea del Santo (1511-1513).