The abbey was founded in 978 as a Benedectine monastery for monks by Willa, the mother of Ugo di Toscana (patron of the Abbey where he was buried) who endowed it with farms and houses. It was the oldest of Florence. Almost nothing of the first building of the pre-Romanesque church, which rested on the first walls of the city, is left. For centuries the Abbey was the religious center of Florence and, as recalled by Dante, the bell tower of the Abbey beat time of the Florentines’ working day. In 1285 it was decided to redo the Abbey and Arnolfo di Cambio was the architect. It was oriented to the east and the entrance opened onto a street that no longer exists. Here, in the "new" Badia, Boccaccio publicly commented on the Commedia of Dante, and Giotto made his first paintings, unfortunately lost.
In 1627 an internal renovation was made, and the church was rotated 90 degrees. The interior is rich in works of art. The main entrance is on Via del Proconsolo, but if you enter from the entry side of Via Dante Alighieri you will have a beautiful view of the bell tower of 1300, a high and slender structure with a fine spire, which still stands out against the view of the city.