In 1250 A.D., Augustinian friars bought a land in Oltrarno area ( over the Arno). They thought it had a good position for their spreading activities. For this purpose they built a church and a convent, which became soon a meeting point for the workers' family who lived in that area.
Some wealthy citizens considered the Oltrarno area as more wholesome compared to the centre of the city and, in the end of 4th century, they decided to move there. Thanks to their financial help, the church was rebuilt and expanded. Brunelleschi's design initially foresaw that the façade was facing the Arno, like this, the church could be seen from both sides of the river. The current church looks partly different from its original design because after Brunelleschi's death in 1446, the works were carried on by the architects Giovanni di Gaiole and Salvi d'Andrea, who made some alteration to the exterior as well as to the interior of the church. The cupola was completed in 1480 and it features a scaly terracotta decoration. To each scale was given a number in order to make the works easier.
The bell-tower was designed later (1503-1517) by Baccio d'Agnolo, while the shaped façade remained undecorated until the 18th century, when the walls were plastered. The elegant interior is typical of the Florentine Renaissance style and is divided into three naves supported by 35 serene stone columns and Corinthian capitals. Statues adorn the marble enclosure that contains the high altar (1599-1608). The high altar is covered by a baldachin which has a finely fretted cupola.
The chapels' works of art include a wooden panel of the 15th century featuring the Madonna del Soccorso, the Madonna in trono e Santi ( Madonna and Saints) (1490) by Filippo Lippi and the Cappella Corbinelli by Sansovino.
The lobby, with its magnificent barrel vault, is the connection to the octagonal sacristy, which was realized by Giuliano Sangallo ( 1489-1494). It is one of the main works of art of the Florentine 15th century and it is inspired to Brunelleschi's style.