St. Stephen Auditorium

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The magnificent St Stephen Auditorium is located in the heart of Florence, next to the famous and unique old bridge. 

It can easily be reached by walking down via por Santa Maria, one of the most elegant and central streets in Florence's city center, that links Republica square with the Old bridge.

St Stephen is one of the first churches building in Florence. It was documented for the first time around 1116, but probably it was built much earlier. Originally built in a simple Romanesque style, later it was enlarged and restored following a Gothic and Baroque style.
In the 1986 it was dismissed because of the depopulation of the city centre.

During the centuries, for many times St Stephen was object of some renovations. Passed to the Augustinians control in 1585, it was completed restructured and embellished, thanks to the financial support of the most important families of Florence, like Bartolommei, Lamberti, Girolami, Riccomanni, Tolomei-Gucci and Gherardini, which contributed to the ornamental inside of the church. During the XV century, it was built the court adjacent to the Church, which setting some tombstone made by serena stone. Since Florence was the cradle of the Renaissance, it was specifically for many of the churches and family chapels that magnificent works of art were commissioned of the greatest artists of all time.

The façade preserves its Romanesque aspect in the inferior part, while the three lancet windows in the upper part were added between the 13th and 14th century, together with the main entrance, surmounted by a round lunette, in white and green marble of Prato.

The other two littlest doors on the right and on the left side, proved that at the beginning the church should has been a church with a nave and two aisles instead of one central nave as nowadays.

Between 1631 and 1641 the choir and the crypt were rework with few changes, together with the interior that was renovated in the baroque style, probably thanks to the Architect Tacca’s project, as well as commissioned Bartolommei’s suggestions. Altars of the two opposed sides were also added during XVII century.

Inside we find beautiful masterpieces, among them the peculiar steps by Buontalenti, with a marble balustrade dated at 1574, and coming from Santa Trinità; the altar planed by Giambologna in 1591; many Renaissance paintings and crucifixes.

In 1783 St. Stephen was joined with the demolish St. Cecilia church, from whom it received several interior decorations and paints which it still conserve; for this reason the 14th of October 1787 it was rename “St Stephen and St Cecilia church” by Martini archbishop.
The church was largely damaged during the second World War, as well as in 1966 because of the flood, and at least in 1993 because of the bomb attempt in georgofoli Street.

Finally restored at the end of 1990s,  today, thanks to its magnificent decorated inners and to its perfect acoustics, the Auditorium is an excellence ideal location where to live an unforgettable experience among Art, Architecture and Music in Florence.