Reparata of Florence Collection

Reparata of Florence

Patron saint of Florence in 3rd century

Little is known about Reparata, an early patron saint of Florence. According to tradition, she lived in Caesarea (Palestine) in the 3rd century. As a young girl, she was martyred during the reign of Roman Emperor Decius (249-251). She appears in written record by the 9th century when St. Bede included her in his collection of martyr stories. In art, she has been depicted in many paintings and sculpture. The Roman Catholic Church still venerates her each year on October 8th.
Remarkably, there is physical evidence in the crypt of the massive Duomo in Florence that a church was built in the 4th century and named after St. Reparata. Like many cathedrals across Italy, the Duomo was built upon the site of an early Christian basilica named for a virgin martyr. The 4th century church was constructed less than 100 years after Reparata’s death, to honor her memory and ensure her protection and blessing. In addition to 4th century ruins, tombs, and tile flooring, there is also evidence in the crypt that St. Reparata’s basilica was greatly enlarged in the 9th century and maintained its titular namesake. Reparata’s following increased greatly across Europe but especially in Italy during the Middle Ages, largely due to the publishing of her Passion. When the new cathedral in Florence was constructed (1296-1436), it was dedicated to St. Mary, likely due to the growing spread of her cult.