The Basilica of San Miniato al Monte is one of the oldest churches in Florence and is frequently called the finest Romanesque basilica in all of Italy. The church as we know it today was started around 1018 and took over one hundred years to complete.
St. Minias was possibly from Armenia and believed to have been martyred around 250 (he was beheaded during the anti-Christian persecutions of the Emperor Decius and was said to have picked up his head, crossed the Arno and walked up the hill of Mons Fiorentinus to his hermitage and buried on this hillside). The church is in a wonderful state of preservation and there are several important works inside, including a tabernacle attributed to Rossellino, the tomb of the Cardinal of Portugal with works by Rossellino, Della Robbia and others, frescoes by Agnolo Gaddi, and an amazing fresco cycle of the life of St. Benedict by Spinello Aretino, to name just some of them.
If you have more than a couple of days in Florence, this is must do for some fresh air, the views, and the amazing church. Click the image below for a slide show of San Miniato: