In Piazza St. Martino is a small church, a chapel called St. Martino to the Bishop. It seems to date from the tenth century, and some argue that it is the place where Dante and Gemma Donati were married. It could correspond to the truth because it is the Alighieri family that Donati patronized this church. During the Middle Ages the gradual reorganization of the city parishes led to the suppression of many small parishes including St. Martin the Bishop.
In 1441 it founded the Society of St. Martin of Buonomini with the aim of helping the “shameful poor”. The founder was Antoninus of Florence better known today as St. Anthony of Florence (they are to see the portrait above the door) who composed the Company of 12 men who were intended to raise money for wealthy families fallen on hard times and for shame they dared not beg publicly, often inimical de ‘Medici family. These men at the time dressed in a black coat and a red cap on his head and knew how to conquer, for their work, the sympathies of many, so much so that he was entrusted with the San Martino church to the bishop as the venue. The consent that the Company drew on himself was enough to be mentioned by Pope Eugene IV as the Angels of Florence and during the period of government of the city by Savonarola latter managed to get to the Society 3000 florins.
We come to say “be reduced to a flicker” that is used by the Florentines to indicate that did the money. At first it would seem that reasoning is to indicate the end of a candle implying that will shut down the light, but neklla actually comes from a ritual that the Society of St. Martin Buonomini put into practice. When the Company’s funds were running out and therefore could not be short them fulfill charity that distinguished them lit a candle placed at the entrance of the church to make it clear to the Florentines who needed donations. From this comes the saying “Being reduced to a flicker.”
The church is open to visitors during these opening hours: from 10:00 to 12:00 and 15:00 to 17:00. Sunday and Friday afternoon closed.
By the door with a tabernacle San Martino that gives alms to the poor made by Cosimo Ulivelli and just below the hole where to put the alms.
On the altar there is a bust of St. Anthony attributed to Verrocchio (Andrea di Michele di Francesco di Cione) and there is a table of the ‘400 representing the Madonna and Child.
The interior is characterized by restored frescoes in 2011. The works are attributed to authors of Ghirlandaio’s workshop, is expected to Domenico di Giovanni importantly, however, they may Francesco d’Antonio a miniaturist. The 10 lunettes depicting the story of St. Martin and represent the common life of the ‘400 Florence taking on a great historical importance as well as artistic.
The Company is still exists and is based on the same simple rules of 575 collects charity and donates always anonymous to the needy, protecting the dignity.