The Basilica di San Miniato al Monte (Basilica of St Minias on the Mountain) stands atop one of the highest points in Florence, and has been described as the finest Romanesque structure in Tuscany and one of the most beautiful churches in Italy.
St Minias was Florence’s first martyr, possibly a Greek merchant or an Armenian prince, who left his home to make a pilgrimage to Rome.
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Construction of the present church was begun in 1013 by Bishop Alibrando and it was endowed by the Emperor Henry II.
It began as a Benedictine monastery, then passed to the Cluniacs and then in 1373 to the Olivetans, who still run it.
The monks make famous liquors, honey and tisanes, which they sell from a shop next to the church.
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The Holy Face of Lucca (or Volto Santo), a major relic supposedly carved by Nicodemus, arrived in 742.
During the eighth-tenth centuries Lucca was a center of Jewish life, the Jewish community being led by the Kalonymos family (which at some point during this time migrated to Germany to become a major component of proto-Ashkenazic Jewry).
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