Basilica Santa Croce, Florence

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    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.

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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

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    It takes my breath away !

    by swissfondue Updated Nov 30, 2011

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    My favorite place in Florence

    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.

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  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    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.

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    Santa Croce

    by Tom_Fields Updated Sep 21, 2010

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    Santa Croce, or Holy Cross Church
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    Santa Croce, or Holy Cross Church, ranks second only to the Duomo. And, like the Duomo, it was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio. It's the main Franciscan church in Florence, said to have been founded by St Francis himself. Begun in 1294, it held the Council of Florence in 1436, where the Catholic and Orthodox churches attempted to heal the ancient rift between them (without success).

    This church has a long list of artistic treasures. It also houses the mortal remains of many of Italy's most distinguished writers, artists, scientists, and others. The list includes Dante, Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli.

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    "Temple of the Italian Glories"

    by Jefie Updated Jul 7, 2010

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    The Santa Croce Basilica is also known as the "Temple of the Italian Glories", in reference to the many illustrious Italians who have been buried in its crypt. Construction of the basilica began in 1294 and it was consecrated by the pope in 1442. The tombs of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo and Rossini, just to name a few, can be found at Santa Croce. There is also a cenotaph dedicated to Dante Alighieri, the Florentinian poet who was sent into exile and died and is buried in Ravenna (despite some attempts to bring his body back to Florence). Most visitors come to see the numerous funeral monuments, but some important works of art can also be found in the basilica's 16 chapels and in the refectory. Perhaps one of the most famous pieces is Cimabue's Crucifix, which was badly damaged during the 1966 flood that hit the city of Florence, but is still on display in the refectory. The basilica's cloisters are also open to the public.

    Although not as popular as some of the other piazze, I thought the architecture around Piazza Santa Croce was more interesting than what you find elsewhere in the city; in fact, the lower painted buildings were more in line with what I saw in Siena and Lucca, for example. It's also interesting to know that Piazza Santa Croce is known as the birthplace of "Calcio Fiorentino", an early form of football that is still played every year in June on the piazza.

    Admission to the Santa Croce Basilica is 5 Euros.

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    Santa Croce: A Franciscan's Feast

    by JoostvandenVondel Updated Aug 8, 2009

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    Santa Croce, Facade
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    It's hard to fathom that the saint most equivalated with poverty and charity, Saint Francis of Assisi, founded, according to legend, this vast feast of an ecclesiastical building. It is the principal Franciscan church in Florence and the largest Franciscan church in the world.

    Santa Croce, or Basilica of the Holy Cross, was begun in 1294 by Arnolfo di Cambio and finally completed in 1453 with Brunelleschi's inner cloister. The 'campanile' was added in 1842 and the marble facade was also a nineteenth century addition (1857-1863). Curiously, it was designed by a Jewish architect, Niccolo Matas, who was allowed to figure in a prominent star of David at the top of the facade. Although he was not allowed burial within the church, given that he was not a Roman Catholic, but rather just outside the entrance, the Church has had the reputation, as did Saint Francis, of a certain religious tolerance. In 1439 the Council of Florence took place here, in an attempt to heal the schism between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.

    The church is designed along a Tau cross design, often called an Egyptian cross. Named after the Greek letter, this design leaves no room for a choir (the area between the transept and the high altar), ambulatory and little room for an apse (behind the high altar). The building measures 115 m. in length and contains a nave and two side aisles; the aisles themselves contain 16 chapels, many of them frescoed by Giotto.

    Attached to this monumental church is the cloister and refectory which make up a large part of the Museo dell'Opera di Santa Croce. The magnificent refectory, where once the Franciscan brothers would gather for meals, contains the great mural by Taddeo Gaddi depicting the Crucifixion, Last Supper and other New Testament narratives. To also be seen is the Crucifix by Cimabue (1287-1288), badly damaged by the 1966 flood, now housed in the Museo.

    If you are spending two days or more in Florence, I would highly recomment a visit to this church. Aside from its vast, impressive space, illuminated interior, and frescoes, it also contains some tombs and monuments to Italy's greatest thinkers.

    Summer Mon- Sat 9:30am-5:30pm, Sun 3pm-5:30pm.
    Winter Mon-Sat 8am-12:30pm and 3pm-5:30pm, Sun 3pm-5:30pm

    Pazzi Chapel- Mar-Oct Thurs-Tues 10am-7pm; Nov-Feb Thurs-Tues 10am-6pm

    General entrance fee: €4.00

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    One of the nicest churches...

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jul 5, 2009

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    The Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is ones of Florence’s largest churches with many separate altars and chapels (16 of them). It is an example of true Gothic - huge and airy. It is also the largest Franciscan church in the world.

    There are a series of tombs in the aisles and Michelangelo’s tomb is here, as well as a statue that looks like it was the “original” Statue of Liberty. One of my favorite pieces in the church was a simple and beautiful statue of Mary with a gold halo.

    Outside is the cloister walk ("Cloisters of Serenity"). It's lined with 19th century monuments and leads to Cappella de' Pazzi.

    Even though the Basilica was under renovation while we were there, it was still a beautiful church and definitely one of my favorite sites in Florence. Out front on the Piazza di Santa Croce are food stands, street performers, etc. I particularly liked the statue of Dante in the Piazza. Definitely worth a visit!

    Special Tip - if you are in Florence during the Christmas season, be sure to visit Santa Croce for the nativity scenes inside - including live animals!

    Hours: Mon-Sat 9:30am-5:30pm; Sun 1-5:30pm

    Cost: Admission 4€

    Photography: Permitted with no flash.

    Dress appropriately.

    Please note that all visitor information is correct as of this writing.

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    Basilica di Santa Croce

    by Tijavi Updated May 27, 2009

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    Santa Croce eclipses the Duomo's grandeur
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    The Medicis may have chosen the church-with-the-boring-facade San Lorenzo as their official chapel, but the truly great Florentines - Galileo, Michelangelo, among others - chose to have their final resting place in this fabulously beautiful neogothic church. If the Duomo is all about form (think bombastic facade and exteriors, and hollow interiors), Santa Croce is all about substance - with a wonderful museum to boot (see tip above).

    Behind the 19th century fabulous neogothic facade by Nicolo Matas, is a treasure trove of magnificent frescoes by Giotto, Gaddi, Agnolo (Gaddi's son) and Brunelleschi. Many writers have "fainted" over these beautiful frescoes including Stendhal, it is said. Fortunately, me and the other tourists didn't. Brunelleschi is also the man behind Capella de'Pazzi, which, with its colorful terracotta medallions and perfectly symmetrical lines, is celebrated as one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture.

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  • roamer61's Profile Photo

    Tombs of the Famous

    by roamer61 Written May 13, 2009

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    Tomb of Michelangelo
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    The Basilica of Sanata croce is like the Floretine version of St. Pauls in London, England. Many of the regions most famous figures are buried here. Amongst them are the composer, Rossini; the great poet, Dante Alighieri, just to name a few. Perhaps the most famous resident is Michelangelo Buonarroti, the greatest artist and architect of the Rennaisance. Then there is Galileo, whose discoveries changed the way we look at the heavens. All of these men, and more, are entombed in this famous church.

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    Basilica of Sanata Croce

    by roamer61 Written May 12, 2009

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    This attractive church was built in the 13th Century and has elements inside and out created by a who's who of the Florentine Rennaisance. Artists who have art here include Donatello, Andrea and Luca della Robbia, Giotto, Giorgio Vasari to name a few. The church also serves as the final resting place to many famous floretines (See next tip).

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  • cinthya_in_victoria's Profile Photo

    Santa Croce

    by cinthya_in_victoria Written Jan 7, 2009

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    Santa Croce is the burial place of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile, Rossini, and Marconi, thus it is known also as the Pantheon of the Italian Glories. It is also the principal Franciscan church in Florence.

    The marble facade is beautiful with several colors, it is very detailed and contrast with the simplicity of its interior. It houses frescos and art sculptures from Donatello, Giovanni da Milano, Benedetto da Maiano, among others. Inside you find sixteen chapels with frescos painted by Giotto.

    My favorites tombs were Michelangelo's and Galileo's.

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    the tomb of galileo

    by doug48 Written Sep 14, 2008

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    tomb of galileo

    galileo galilei was a famous florentine scientist and the inventor of the telescope. his tomb is located in the church of santa croce. galileo's tomb was scupted in 1737 by gerolamo ticciati. sadly photography is not allowed in santa croce. the attached picture is a scan. this is just one of many beautiful carved tombs and cenotaphs in santa croce.

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    Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cros

    by mallyak Written Aug 31, 2008

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    The Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is the principal Franciscan [church]] in Florence, Italy, 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 site, when first chosen, was in marshland outside the city walls. It is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Donatello, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile, Rossini, Marconi and Fermi, thus it is known also as the Pantheon of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell'Itale Glorie or Pantheon dell'Itale Glorie.
    This is one of the most splendid sites of Florence, where it is pleasant to stop and sit on the large and comfortable benches, to consult a guidebook, read the newspaper or simply observe the light of day as it plays on the facade of Santa Croce

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