San Miniato basilica celebrates millennium

Florence’s hilltop basilica turns 1,000 years old

Mindy Burrows
April 18, 2018 - 12:44

A calendar of 50-plus events has been announced to mark the millennium of the San Miniato Basilica.



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The celebrations will begin at Florence’s favourite hilltop church on April 27 to commemorate the date when the Florentine bishop Ildebrando recovered the remains of martyr Miniato and placed them on an altar, marking the first foundations of the Romanesque basilica and called a monastic community to live on the San Miniato hill. The day’s events will include the opening of the holy door and a Eucharist service led by Archbishop of Florence Cardinal Giuseppe Betori. 


The celebration will include the inauguration of three wooden doors and the ciborium, recently restored thanks to the Friends of Florence, in addition to the performance of original musical compositions, art installations, international study days and conferences, readings and a family-focused festival. Highlights include Marco Nereo Rotelli’s installations on the basilica’s façade, beginning May 11 at 9pm; The Millennium Sunset Prayer Concert on June 21 with a musical debut by young composer Ian Cecil Scott; the day-long Piazza San Miniato festival on June 23, with tastings, workshops about medieval times, street performances and mass; an international conference about the basilica’s history on September 13 and 14; and a focus on the development of liturgical chants, titled “Haec est porta coeli, canti per mille anni”, involving Florence’s international peoples, from April 3 to 7.


The year of events will draw to a close on April 27, 2019 with the reveal of a sculpture to commemorate the millennium, the reading of messages from people involved with San Miniato over its 1,000-year history and the closing of the “holy door”.

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