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Northern Florence-Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, Ospedale degli Innocenti and Museo Archeologico

The Piazza della Santissima Annunziata is dominated by a statue of Grand Duke Ferdinand I de ‘Medici and filled with students from the university area. The Jazz&Co Festival is held here in the summertime.
Overlooking the piazza is the Chiesa della Santissima Annunziata (Picture 1) (open 7.30am-12.30pm, 4-6.30pm ). The church building was begun in 1250 by the Servite order and reconstructed by Michelozzo in the 1400s. Its atrium was decorated by Andrea del Sarto and the fifth chapel by Il Perugino.
Established in the first half of the 15th century as the first European orphanage, the Ospedale degli Innocenti is also home to great art. Highlights are Brunelleschi ‘s portico (Picture 2) with signs of the classical design. It was later modified by Andrea della Robbia who adorned it with depictions of babies wrapped in cloth. Children used to be abandoned at the door at the northern extreme of the portico. The museum is located on the second floor(tel. 055 203 73 08; www.institutodegliinnocenti.it; open 8.30am, to 7pm Mon-Sat, to 2 Sun) and houses the haunting Madonna of the Innocents by Domenico di Michelino (1440), Adoration of the Magi by Ghirlandaio (1488) (PIcture 3), Madonna with Holy Child and Angel by Botticelli (1465-66) and Madonna and Saint Joseph by Marco della Robbia (1505).
More related to the function of the orphanage is the exhibition of name labels that orphans’ clothes had so they could be recognized by their mothers.
For a change from artwork, the Museo Archeologico, just steps from the square, (tel. 055 23 57 50; Via della Colonna 38; open 2-7pm Mon, 8.30am- 7pm Tue–Thu, 8.30am-2pm Wed, Fri and Sun) houses reputable artefacts and the Medici antiquities. The Egyptian, Etruscan and Greco-Roman cultures are represented on the first floor.