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Santa Felicita or Church of St Felicity is located in the Piazza Santa Felicita adjacent to the Palazzo Pitti in the Oltrarno district of the city of Florence. The first church on the site was thought to have been built in the late 4th or early 5th century. This building was replaced during the 11th century. Further major works were carried out during the 14th century which covered most of the earlier structure.

Santa Felicita

Santa Felicita 1

In 1565 Grand Duke Cosimo I orderd that a corridor be built between the Palace in Piazza della Signoria to the his new residence, a property previously owned by the Pitti family. This corridor passes across the facade of Santa Felicita and is now called the Vasari corridor after its creator Giorgio Vasari. On the inner wall of the corridor is a window where the Medici family would gather to listen to the mass without being observed by the rest of the congregation. As you enter the church, the first chapel you come to on the right-hand side is the Barbadori chapel that was created by Brunelleschi in 1425  featuring 2 paintings by Pontormo. We are unsure on who built the Sacrysty, it may have been Michelozzo or maybe Leon Battista Alberti, but it was certainly done in the style of Brunelleschi. Included in the Sacrysty is the Adoration of the Magi by Francesco di Antonio.

Santa Felicita 2

The main chapel was designed in the early 1400’s  by Filippo Brunelleschi for his then patron Bartolomeo Barbadori, to act as the family chapel and is the oldest chapel designed by Brunelleschi in existence, and possibly the second oldest in Florence.

Santa Felicita 3

In 1487 the chapel was acquired by Antonio Paganelli and in 1525 after his death, his heir Bernardo Paganelli sold it to the Capponi family. Capponi arranged to have the chapel restored and decorated by Jacopo Pontormo. In 1722 on the instructions of Ferrante Capponi, the chapel was again restored, a new alter in polychrome marble was added and placed behind a wrought iron enclosure which remains to this day.

Santa Felicita 4 Santa Felicita 5

Four tondos depicting the Evangelists decorate the pendentives that originally supported the old cupola, but the most important addition by Pontormo is the altarpiece with a painting that is considered to be his artistic masterpiece, the Deposition.