I am getting behind in my chronicles of Florence. It seems like there is history and wonderful photographs everywhere. Today, I am going to take you to the church of San Miniato which is located in the hills above Florence. “St. Miniato or Minas (Armenian: Մինաս) was an Armenian prince serving in the Roman army under Emperor Decius. He was denounced as a Christian after becoming a hermit and was brought before the Emperor who was camped outside the gates of Florence. The Emperor ordered him to be thrown to beasts in the Amphitheatre where a panther was called upon him but refused to devour him. Beheaded in the presence of the Emperor, he is alleged to have picked up his head, crossed the Arno and walked up the hill of Mons Fiorentinus to his hermitage. A shrine was later erected at this spot and there was a chapel there by the 8th century. Construction of the present church was begun in 1013 by Bishop Alibrando and it was endowed by the Emperor Henry II. ” ( from Wikipedia). There are an order of monks who have been in residence at this church since the 15th century. We got to hear Mass and Vespers sung in Latin by this group. It is very inspiring to go to Mass in a church that is that old. We also looked at the Porte Sante cemetery that surrounds the church. This is a large cemetery with lots of marble statues and gravestones. Some of them are quite unusual, for example; “Mario and Maria Mazzone. The life-size statues of these two young people who died so very long ago make even the most casual observer stop and look for details of this love story. One sees a young man in an airman’s uniform with a broad smile, looking squarely at the young woman whose gaze is turned slightly aside and downward, with just a hint of a smile on her face, their hands just about to touch. One looks closely and reads in the inscription that Mario, born in 1919, was killed in Hamm, Germany on 22 April 1944; Maria, born in 1922, died some 11 months later, in May of 1945. No other Mazzones are buried there, nor are there any clues as to who these people were. Were they lovers? Husband and wife? In fact, according to Graziella Cirri, who has done an exhaustive analysis of the sculpture in several Florentine cemeteries, Maria and Mario were in fact brother and sister and the statue was commissioned in 1947 by their mother.” ( from The Florentine). Another interesting grave belongs to Silvia Marini Nei de Rogati 1886-1947 . She is shown standing with a cape outstretched behind her and 4 young children in front of her. I also came across a couple of kind of creepy graves. The first thing I saw of this particular grave were his feet. Then I worked my way around to find the sculpted body of a life sized naked man lying over his grave. Click on the photo to enlarge it . Then there is this grave with a child being covered with an octopus. I could not find any information on the web about it or the person, Maria Elizabetta Giustini whose dates were 1955-1956. There were also many large mausoleums that were made like mini churches; here is one that was quite large. Here are a couple of other statues that I found interesting.. It is a different kind of art; one that expresses a little bit of what one person’s life meant to other people they left behind.