New lighting at the Basilica of San Miniato

Millennium celebrations continue with blended fixtures

Editorial Staff
October 15, 2018 - 16:44

The Basilica of San Miniato al Monte, in the hills above piazzale Michelangelo, will inaugurate its new lighting system on October 18, installed as part of the church’s millennium celebrations. The new lighting, utilizing avant-garde LED technology and managed by the Florence-based company Exenia, emphasizes the space’s architectural elements, frescos and objects whilst respecting the harmony of the shapes, materials and symbols of the church and its contents.


Rays of light guide the eye towards the presbytery and apse, with its splendid mosaic serving as a focal point and cornerstone of the church’s religious symbolism. The marble intarsia carvings on the pavement are lighted from above thanks to lantern-like fixtures installed on the trusses equipped with precision optics that highlight each tile with immense clarity. Like the above-head lighting, the other fixtures have been designed to blend in with the space, shining a (literal) light on the interior without impacting its integrity.



Massimo Iarussi, the lighting designer responsible for the new installation, said, “I like to say that when lighting designers do a really good job, they’re destined to remain in the dark. Good lighting must never intrude upon a space, but must appear natural in the setting. This was particularly true for this project. How could we even think to add something to the beauty of this place? What was needed was to intervene delicately, guiding the visitor and helping him/her enjoy such beauty, maintaining intact the place, the sense of welcoming, the peace.”

The San Miniato Millennium

As told by Abbot of San Miniato Bernardo Gianni

“I placed you at the centre of the world so that from there you could best observe all that is in the world. Neither celestial nor earthly did I create


The new lighting system is controlled digitally and is completely configurable, allowing for an infinite number of lighting options, given that every fixture is managed separately. To simplify the use of these configurations, and to guarantee energy efficiency, a few standard designs have been pre-programmed to correspond with the religious ceremonies.


The inauguration will take place on October 18 and is open to the public. The program includes Gregorian chants at 9pm, followed by a presentation of the project and an organ and trumpet concert.  

more articles