It’s not often that you see a view or a vista that absolutely takes your breath away but this happened when we visited Florence and went into the church of Saints Michael and Gaetano in the Piazza Antinori. Hanging from the arches, stretched along horizontal borders, and placed over shaped inserts in the walls were exquisitely embroidered panels, each one tailored specifically to the spaces.
The effect was unbelievable as the flowered borders stretched high along the church and hung under the arches.
The sacristan was in the church and I managed to find out about the embroideries. They were apparently made in the early eighteenth century, and it is only recently that they were re-discovered folded up carefully in a store room. This is a close up of the hanging in front of the pulpit.
It took them quite a while to work out what went where as there were no instructions! However, everything was very carefully made so that it fitted exactly.
This can be seen from the side view of the pulpit hanging here.
Imagine trying to work out what went where with the set of embroidered hangings in this area of the church!
The hangings around the altar are particularly fine.
Here in close up it’s possible to see the exquisite craftsmanship that went into their construction.
But also to note that they are in dire need of conservation. The weft threads are almost completely worn through.
There are lots of examples of gold thread work as here.
Every area seems to have a specially shaped and fitted embroidery.
We were told that it takes three whole days for the hangings to be fixed around the church and three days again for them to be taken down.
Apparently they put the hangings up for the first week of July for special church celebrations and then take them down a week or so later. We were just so fortunate to have stumbled on the church and this most amazing spectacle, when we did.
If you’re in Florence at that time, do make sure that you call in and have your eyes delighted by this stunning work!