Tuesday and Thursday 10.00 – 12.00 am
Parish of S. Stefano dei Cavalieri
The construction of a church dedicated to the Order of the Knights of Santo Stefano, founded by Cosimo I de Medici in 1561 to safeguard the Christian faith from the danger of the Ottomans and pirates, was begun by Vasari but was then entrusted to Giovanni De’ Medici, Cosimo’s stepson. The white Carrara marble facade has an elegant and at the same time sober appearance, embellished by the giant Medici coat of arms of the Order.
The interior, originally a single nave, was enlarged from the 17th century with the addition of the two side aisles, first used as dressing rooms of the knights.
Remarkable is the great wooden ceiling dedicated to the military exploits of the Order, but above all the flags taken from Turkish and pirate ships during the XVI-XVIII centuries. In particular, the flag of the “Flame of Combat” that waved from the mast of the flagship of Alì Pascià, conquered in the battle of Lepanto (1571) where the Holy League defeated the Turkish fleet.