This abbey was founded as a Benedictine institution in 978 by Willa, the mother of Margrave Ugo of Tuscany. It’s best known as being the parish church of Beatrice Portinari, the love of Dante’s life.
The church’s main attraction is the 1480 oil painting Apparition of the Virgin to St. Bernard, by Renaissance painter Filippino Lippi. As you enter the church, it’s on the left.
Stairs on the right lead up to a gallery that looks over the cloister, which has 15th century frescoes depicting the life of St Benedict.
The church was rebuilt in 1307 (Gothic style) and given a Baroque facelift between 1627 and 1631.
The bell tower was built in stages between 1310 and 1330.
Across the street is the so-called ‘Casa di Dante’, a museum to Dante opened in 1910 and built on what is believed to be the site of his former home.