Basilica Di Santa Croce, Florence

4.5 out of 5 stars 122 Reviews

Piazza Santa Croce +39-055-246-6105

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    You Won't Find Dante Here!

    by BeatChick Written Jan 18, 2015

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    I'm a big fan of the film "A Room with a View" and this is where I first learned of Santa Croce. Many Firenze luminaries are buried here including Michelangelo who also created his own tomb statuary (please see photo). On the floor, you see a spot for Dante Alighieri, the famous Florentine medieval writer of "The Divine Comedy" (a beautiful work). Although a tomb has been reserved for this illustrious poet, he is actually buried in Ravenna!

    Come here for the mosaics, frescoes, statuary, and stained glass; while away a few hours soaking in the history. It's a beautiful space.

    Afterwards, refresh yourself at one of the many cafés & restaurants on the Piazza Santa Croce. I tried Boccadama Enoteca Ristorante. I didn't even realize it was a Rick Steves recommendation until later!

    Santa Croce's Gorgeous Domed Ceilings I love this sad statue in Santa Croce Santa Croce Frescoes Michalangelo's Tomb - Santa Croce Candles & Marble Floors - Santa Croce
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    Santa Croce Basilica

    by rexvaughan Written Sep 12, 2014

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    This was one of the highlights of Florence for me as I think it could be called a Temple of Genius. So many of the greats of Florence are either buried here or memorialized in different ways: Dante, Galileo, Ghiberti, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Rossini, right down to the more modern ones, Marconi and Enrico Fermi. I thought maybe just being among these tombs and memorials would enhance my intelligence, but, alas … But whether your interest is art or history, this, in my opinion, is a must-see in Florence.

    Rossini's tomb Dante's tomb Machiavelli's tomb Bronzino - Descent of Christ into Limbo

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    Church of Santa Croce

    by hungariangirl896 Written Sep 10, 2014

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    Santa Croce, the world’s biggest Franciscan church, is one of the most detailed and beautiful churches I’ve ever seen in Italy. It dates from 1294 and holds the tombs of many famous, notable Italians. Many architects, designers, and painters were involved in the construction of this church including Brunelleschi, Giotto, Vasari, Cimabue, Donatello, Taddeo Gaddi, and Niccolo Matas. Inside you can see the ornate tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Leonardo Bruni, Ghiberti, Macchiavelli, and Foscolo. In addition to tombs, there are many plaques and monuments on the walls and floor of the church dedicated to others. The front of Santa Croce contains many tiny, narrow chapels completely covered in frescoes. On the right side of the building there is a bell tower and a larger chapel called Capella de’ Pazzi. Upon exiting the church, you can walk around in a large, peaceful courtyard and view an artifacts exhibit in a small building to the left. I definitely recommend Santa Croce to any visitor in Florence, since I actually enjoyed it more than the Duomo itself.

    Santa Croce courtyard Santa Croce chapels Santa Croce facade Inside Santa Croce Michelangelo's tomb
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    Museum of Santa Croce

    by brendareed Written Jun 15, 2014

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    The Santa Croce Museum is just down the path and has some interesting old statues and monuments. There is a video that shows the stained glass windows and how they really look (they have been covered by scaffolding for about four years as they are being restored).

    The museum in the former monastery has some wonderful della Robbias, a Last Supper fresco with the tree of Jesse in the old refectory (done by followers of Giotto) and a Mannerist painting by Agnolio di Cosimo of Christ in Limbo.

    As you enter the Gothic refectory, you will see a Cimabue Crucifix that was badly damaged in the 1966 flood (photos of this massive flood can be seen as you exit the church via the bookstore and Medici chapel). Unfortunately, this painting on wood from around 1265 is ruined; however, you can see other Cimabue works in Florence’s Uffizi gallery.

    Just before the exit in the first cloister, look for the memorial to the nurse Florence Nightingale, who was named after the city when she was born in Florence in 1820.

    Before you leave the cloister area, there are bathrooms near the exit (just in case!).

    Open weekdays: 9:30 am – 5:30 pm Holidays: 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm Closed on: December 25 and 26, January 1, Easter, June 13, October 4.

    Admission: €5 - Combined ticket S. Croce- Museum S. Croce - Pazzi Chapel

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    Pazzi Chapel at Santa Croce

    by brendareed Written Jun 15, 2014

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    Once you have visited the Church of Santa Croce, exit through the bookstore and visit the museum (included in your ticket for the church). Be sure to stop in the Chapter Room or Pazzi Chapel in the cloisters (on the left of the grassy area). This chapel was designed by Brunelleschi and has some very nice della Robbias in the room. In the upper corners (squinches), notice the Pazzi family symbol – a seahorse. The Pazzi family were the ones that attempted the assassination of Lorenzo Medici. This chapel reflects Brunelleschi’s desire for clarity in his work – mathematically the room is a perfect use of modular units. You can see this by counting the sections of the walls, noticing that each section/unit is the same size, and the altar area is the size of two of these units.

    On the left side of the chapel you’ll find a high-water mark from the 1966 flood of Florence – almost 6 meters (19 feet) high. You may have seen the old photos of the flood as you were leaving the church before entering the cloister.

    Before you leave the cloister area, there are bathrooms near the exit (just in case!).

    Open weekdays: 9:30 am – 5:30 pm Holidays: 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm Closed on: December 25 and 26, January 1, Easter, June 13, October 4.

    Admission: €5 (2012) - Combined ticket S. Croce- Museum S. Croce - Pazzi Chapel

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    Giotto's Bardi Chapel in Santa Croce

    by brendareed Written Jun 15, 2014

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    The first chapel to the right of the altar belongs to the Bardi Family, who commissioned Giotto to paint the magnificent floor-to-ceiling frescoes that decorate the chapel. Giotto was proto-Renaissance and these frescoes go back to the very 1300s. They depict the life of Saint Francis (remember, Santa Croce is a Franciscan church).

    St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata is on the arch at the entrance with scenes from the rest of his life surrounding the chapel. The panel painting on the altar shows 20 episodes from Saint Francis’ life by Florentine artist Coppo di Marcovaldo in the 1200s. The age of these priceless pieces are not the only thing that makes them valuable, but that Giotto, the artist that created the bridge from medieval painting to Renaissance, was the artist. If you have the opportunity to see Giotto’s frescoed chapel in Padua, be sure to see it.

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    Tombs of the rich and famous in Santa Croce

    by brendareed Written Jun 15, 2014

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    There are a number of monuments and tombs in Santa Croce. They line both sides of the nave, so plan to spend some time looking at them since you’ll find some pretty famous people here.

    As you enter the church, the first monument on the left side of the nave is to Galileo. As discussed in a separate tip, this is just a monument and not a tomb for Galileo is buried elsewhere in Santa Croce. On the opposite wall from Galileo’s monument is the tomb of Florence’s favorite son – Michelangelo (see separate tip). Near Michelangelo’s tomb is a monument to the writer Dante, although he is actually buried in Ravenna. This monument is followed by Niccolò Machiavelli’s tomb, famous for his book The Prince which used Florence as his model. After Machiavelli is an early Annunciation by Donatello and the tomb of Leonardo Bruni. (see my separate tip about these tombs)

    The Annunciation by Donatello was done before his David (see separate tip from the Bargello). This is very classic in its style – see how Mary looks almost like a Roman girl?

    Bruni’s tomb (comes after the Donatello) is what some people consider to be the most perfect Renaissance tomb and was influential in the styling of future tombs and memorials. It is a mix uniting Catholic and classic elements and was sculpted by Rosselino.

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    Donatello’s Crucifix in Santa Croce

    by brendareed Written Jun 15, 2014

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    In Santa Maria Novella, there is a crucifix by Brunelleschi that was the result of a personal competition between he and Donatello – both trying to see who could create the most human looking Christ on the cross. Here in Santa Croce is the Donatello entry – it can be found in the chapel to the far left of the altar (when you are looking at the altar). This was the one that lost the competition – it was deemed to look too much like a peasant – even Donatello admitted defeat and praised Brunelleschi for his work.

    The wooden cross, made of pear wood in the early 1400s, has moveable arms because the body was designed to be used not only for a crucifix but also for a deposition.

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    Galileo in Santa Croce

    by brendareed Written Jun 15, 2014

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    As you enter through the doors, one of the first monuments you come to is a memorial to Galileo on your left. Notice the sculptures have symbols of his work in astronomy. But (and I was surprised to learn this…) this is NOT Galileo’s tomb. He is buried nearby, but not here –he fell out of favor with the church and was not permitted to be buried in the sacred part of the church. So where is his tomb?

    Leave the Sacristy through the bookstore and head to the small Medici chapel – it is a very simple room with pews and a plain altar. You can tell the Medici were the patrons by their coat of arms in the windows. However, the most interesting thing in this room is the small closet to the left of the altar. That is the actual tomb of Galileo! He couldn’t be buried in the church proper, but is on the church grounds.

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    Santa Croce & Renaissance Art

    by brendareed Written Jun 15, 2014

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    Santa Croce was one of four major building projects that occurred in the 1300s and is the largest Franciscan basilica in the world. Inside are some fabulous Renaissance art works as well as the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Ghiberti and Machiavelli. It was built in what was considered back then the poor side of town, which was just where the Franciscans wanted to be. As you enter the church you notice the timber roof in keeping with these humble beginnings. It is a Gothic style building – notice the pointed arches inside? And there are many monuments and side altars as well as frescoes to beautify the building.

    There is lots to see in Santa Croce so allow plenty of time to get through the church, the cloisters, and the attached museum. They are all chock full of quality Renaissance and proto-Renaissance artworks by some rather famous artists. Without sounding like I’m name dropping, Santa Croce has works by Giotto, Donatello, Daddi, Gaddi, Vasari, della Robbia, and others. Plus tombs of Michaelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Alberti, and Ghiberti.

    As you enter through the doors, one of the first monuments you come to is a memorial to Galileo on your left. Notice the sculptures have symbols of his work in astronomy. But (and I was surprised to learn this…) this is NOT Galileo’s tomb. He is buried nearby, but not here –he fell out of favor with the church and was not permitted to be buried in the sacred part of the church. See my separate tip about his tomb outside the church part of the building.

    On the opposite wall from Galileo’s monument is the tomb of Florence’s favorite son – Michelangelo (see separate tip). Near Michelangelo’s tomb is a monument to the writer Dante, although he is actually buried in Ravenna. This monument is followed by Niccolò Machiavelli’s tomb, famous for his book The Prince which used Florence as his model. After Machiavelli is an early Annunciation by Donatello and the tomb of Leonardo Bruni. (see my separate tip about these tombs)

    Note all the scaffolding around the altar area – they are restoring the stained glass windows. There is a video in the museum (later in the tour) that will show you want the windows look like. Walk past the altar and look at the two chapels to the immediate right of the altar. The first one, the Bardi Chapel (see separate tip), has frescoes by Giotto and shows scenes from the life of St. Francis (it is a Franciscan church). Chapel #2 has scenes from the life of St. John by Gaddi.

    At the far end of the right side of the altar is a side chapel with frescoes showing the life of Mary painted by Taddeo Gaddi, a follower of Giotto.

    Next to this altar is a side door where you can leave the church and enter the Sacristy (where they would prepare the elements of the Mass). Notice the same scenes from the Bardi Chapel in this room? There are lots of wood cabinets in this room that are beautiful and hold objects of interest, particularly a part of St. Francis’ robe and belt.
    As you exit the chapel and are in the hallway heading towards the museum, notice the old photos of Santa Croce from the 1966 flood – very interesting!

    Before you leave the cloister area, there are bathrooms near the exit (just in case!).

    Open weekdays: 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
    Holidays: 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm
    Closed on: December 25 and 26, January 1, Easter, June 13, October 4.

    Admission: €5 - Combined ticket S. Croce- Museum S. Croce - Pazzi Chapel

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    Holy Cross

    by goodfish Written Oct 8, 2012

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    If you have time to see only one church, skip the Duomo (much more impressive on the outside than in) and make a beeline for this one. Santa Croce is a magnificent Medieval-Gothic basilica and the largest Franciscan church in the world. Built in the late 13th/early 14th century, its many outstanding features include tragically damaged but still remarkable frescoes. Renaissance-era citizens were largely illiterate so the churches made liberal use of the fresco as a teaching tool to illustrate bible stories and miraculous lives/gory martyrdoms of the saints. These were executed by some of the finest painters of the day - Giotto, Fra Angelico, Lippi, Sarto, and others - who were commissioned by both clergy and wealthy citizens to decorate public spaces and family burial chapels. Many of these were sadly plastered or whitewashed over in the 1600’s to accommodate the more dramatic, strongly dimensional art and architecture of the Baroque era.

    Restoration has freed enough of Santa Croce’s fragile works from their blanket of paint so you can admire Giotto’s dabblings in the Bardri chapel, Gaddi’s in the refectory, etc. and get a good feeling for how the church would have looked in the 1300’s. Additional highlights include some beautiful Della Robbia enamels, Donatello’s “Annunciation” and crucifix, and tombs of/monuments to Niccolo Machiavelli, Dante, Guglielmo Marconi, Florence Nightingale, Dante and Michelangelo.

    Interesting notes about the latter two: Michelangelo died in Rome and to ensure that he would be buried in Florence, as was his wish, the body was spirited away in the dead of night to escape the clutches of a Pope who had other ideas. Galileo, who spent the last nine years of his life under house arrest for heresy (“Yep, folks, Copernicus was right.") had his remains unceremoniously consigned to an unmarked grave in a back room of the basilica. Almost 100 years later, his bones (except for a couple of fingers) were finally allowed a dignified burial in the church proper but the great astronomer wouldn’t be completely exonerated of his ‘crimes’ in until 1992.

    This website below has some good information and outstanding photos of the church:

    http://www.digital-images.net/Gallery/Scenic/Florence/Churches/SantaCroce/santacroce.html

    Good things to know:

    • There is an entrance fee and it’s not covered by the Friends of the Uffizi or Firenze cards: see the website

    • Open Monday - Saturday from 9:30 to 17:00, and 13:00 to 17:00 on Sundays and Holy Days (see website).

    • Closed New Year's Day (January 1), Easter, St. Anthony (June 13), St. Francis (4 October), Christmas (December 25), Boxing Day (December 26).

    • No cell phone use , flash/tripods, or loud conversation allowed, and mandatory Italian-church dress rules apply

    • Handicapped accessible - see website

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    Basilica di Santa Croce burals

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Jun 16, 2012

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    The Basilica became popular with Florentines as a place of worship and patronage and it became customary for greatly honored Florentines to be buried or commemorated there. Some were in chapels "owned" by wealthy families such as the Bardi and Peruzzi. As time progressed, space was also granted to notable Italians from elsewhere.
    For 500 years monuments were erected in the church including those to: Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile and Rossini, Guglielmo Marconi (actually buried in his birthplace at Sasso Marconi, near Bologna), Enrico Fermi (actually buried in Chicago, Illinois) thus it is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell'Itale Glorie).

    You can watch my 3 min 01 sec Video Florence Santa Croche out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.

    Basilica di Santa Croce burals
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    Basilica di Santa Croce

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Jun 16, 2012

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    The Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is the principal Franciscan and a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church. It is situated on the Piazza di Santa Croce, about 800 metres south east of the Duomo.
    The Basilica is the largest Franciscan church in the world. Its most notable features are its sixteen chapels, many of them decorated with frescoes by Giotto and his pupils, and its tombs and cenotaphs. Legend says that Santa Croce was founded by St Francis himself. The construction of the current church, to replace an older building, was begun in 1294, possibly by Arnolfo di Cambio, and paid for by some of the city's wealthiest families. It was consecrated in 1442.

    Ticket
    Full euro 5,00
    Reduced euro 3,00
    Opening hours
    From 9.30 a.m. to 5.00p.m. Mon-Sat
    From 1.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.
    Sundays and holidays
    Days of closure
    1st January, Easter, 13 June, 4 October, 25 and 26 December

    Basilica di Santa Croce Basilica di Santa Croce
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    It takes my breath away !

    by swissfondue Updated Nov 30, 2011

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    There are probably thousands of reviews about the history, beauty and contents of the Basilica Di Santa Croce so I wont go into detail about its much written about splendours.

    All I will say is for me it is an absolutely must see in Florence and each time I have had the pleasure of visiting its interior, museum, shops and grounds I have come away with a feeling of contentment.

    Its exterior, and for that matter interior is not particularly auspicious. I have set foot in many more ornate and exquisite basilicas. But there is something special about Basilica di Santa Croce that makes it magnificent. This Franciscan church has a feeling of joy, a sense of greatness, an air of serenity, and is justly a fitting final resting place for some of the worlds most influential achievers over hundreds of years. Take a moment to sit and feel the emotion that emanates from its walls.

    The Basilica, Chiostri and Museo are open weekdays from 9.30 to 17.30. On Saturdays, Sundays and Holy Days from 13.30 to 17.30. Last entrance to the Basilica is at 17.00 although I wouldnt consider arriving at that time as you need to spend up to a couple of hours to see everything in detail.

    There is a 5 Euro entry charge. Young people between the ages of 11 and 18 are charged 3 Euro and children younger than 11 are free. Audioguides can be hired for 4 Euro or less for young children and students. The Basilica provides volunteer guides who run 40 minute guided tours of the church and its masterpieces.

    The church is administered by the Opera di Santa Croce. Office hours are between Monday to Friday 08.30 to 17.00. Contact details are below.

    As with all sacred sites appropriate clothing should be worn inside the Basilica. Disposable paper capes are available free of charge and are distributed at the entrance.

    My favorite place in Florence

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    Santa Croce

    by croisbeauty Updated Oct 7, 2011

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    Basilica di Santa Croce (the Holy Cross) is the principal Franciscan church if Florence but also known as teh Temple of Italian Glories. It is the burial place of some of the most famous Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiaveli and Rossini.
    Actually, the basilica is the largest Franciscan church in the world and its most notable features are its sixten chapels decorated by Giotto and his pupils. The construction of the church begun in 1294 and its floorplan is an Egyptian or Tau cross, which is symbol of St. Francis.
    The main cloister houses the Capella dei Pazzi and was designed by Brunelleschi, same as the dome of the Duomo. The design is rigorously simple and uandorned. Brunelleschi also built the inner cloister.

    Basilica di Santa Croce Santa Croce Santa Croce Santa Croce Basilica di Santa Croce

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