Basilica of San Miniato al Monte, Florence, Italy

Basilica of San Miniato al Monte, Florence, Italy
Client: Ordine Monastico dei Benedettini Olivetani – Exenia Srl, Calenzano (FI)
Lighting Designer: Arch. Massimo Iarussi
Photographs by: Matteo Bencini

The Basilica of “S. Miniato al Monte” (St. Minias on the Mountain) in Florence is a jewel. Not only for its beauty, but also for the masterpieces that are kept there, for the amazing view of the city that you can enjoy from the terrace, and for the thousands of mysteries that surround it. It is visited by crowds of tourists, but it manages to keep itself out of the most chaotic circuits, attracting only the most attentive visitors to take a break there.
Those who entered the Basilica before the intervention were struck by the contrast between the natural light outside, sometimes blinding, and the darkness inside, which often prevented them from enjoying the beauty of the place. And yet, darkness is part of that beauty. However, it needed to be declined appropriately. Herein lies the essence of the entire lighting project: respect for darkness; the silence of the eyes.
The project therefore plays on sobriety and balance. The architectural elements have a very soft lighting, which is also graduated so as to maintain the right balance between them and create a hierarchy. The gaze is guided towards the presbytery and the apse basin with its beautiful mosaic, the focal point of the architecture and the fulcrum of religious symbology.
The system is governed by a digital control system that has made it possible to create differentiated lighting scenarios that accompany the Basilica in all moments of its intense daily life: they support the Friars in their meditation, guide tourists and visitors, welcome the faithful and follow them in their functions, while they also exalt the rejoicing in moments of celebration.