About the Convent of San Marco:
One of the artists associated with Florence is Blessed Fra Angelico, who lived in the first half of the 15th Century. After living in several different cities and monasteries, in 1444 a member of the Medici family invited him to come and live at the Convent of San Marco in Florence. Upon accepting this offer he began to paint frescoes in each of the monk’s cells in the convent. These frescoes remain and the convent is now a museum.
Of course Fra Angelico is known for more than just his frescoes here; he was later called to Rome to paint the chapel of Pope Nicholas V in the Vatican. Upon his death he was buried in the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome, in the same church that houses the tomb of Saint Catherine of Siena.
Unfortunately, this period of artistic achievement also coincided with a time of decadence for many of those within the Church. Not all, however, succumbed to the temptations of wealth and power. Among those who spoke out against abuse was Saint Antoninus, a Dominican who later became friends with Father Angelico. He was appointed Archbishop of Florence (much against his wishes and only after the Pope threatened him with excommunication if he did not accept). Ignoring the norms of the time, he lived a modest lifestyle and gave much of what he owned to the poor. His example inspired others to return to the true principles of the Church. His body was found to be incorrupt and can be viewed in a glass reliquary inside the Basilica of San Marco.
Finding the Convent of San Marco:
Address: Piazza San Marco, 1, 50121 Firenze FI, Italy