Though he did not live to see its completion, it’s believed that Filippo Brunelleschi began designs for this church as early as 1428. After his death in 1446, work continued guided by Antonio Manetti, Giovanni da Gaiole and Salvi d’Andrea. Various additions and elements were later added, including a bell tower (1503) designed by Baccio d’Agnolo. Brunelleschi’s planned facade was never built and is still blank today.
The massive church has 38 art-festooned side chapels (two of which are now doors), most notably the Bini-Capponi Chapel, which contains the St. Monica Establishing the Rule of the Augustinian Nuns painting by Francesco Botticini. Other noteworthy pieces include Filippino Lippi’s Madonna and Child with Saints (1488) and Domenico di Zanobi’s Madonna of the Relief (1485)
The wood crucifix in the sacristy is believed to be a copy of Michelangelo’s Christ done by Taddeo Landini (1579).
The adjacent refectory, Cenacolo di Santo Spirito (admission 2.20 euros), contains Andrea Orcagna’s impressive Crucifixion fresco along with a fragmentary Last Supper, both dating from about 1370. A collection of sculptures from the 11th through 15th centuries, include works by Donatello, Jacopo della Quercia and Tino da Camaino.