Basilica Santa Croce, Florence

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  • JoostvandenVondel's Profile Photo

    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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    • Architecture

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  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    One of the nicest churches...

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jul 5, 2009

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    Basilica di Santa Croce
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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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  • Tijavi's Profile Photo

    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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    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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  • mallyak's Profile Photo

    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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  • Aitana's Profile Photo

    Santa Croce

    by Aitana Written Jul 26, 2008

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    It is worth a long visit to see the church, the cloister and the museum.
    In the church there are several graves of famous people.
    The museum contains many masterpieces such as Cimabue's Cross.
    The cloister is a good place to have a rest or check the guide and deide the next place to visit.

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  • Aitana's Profile Photo

    Santa Croce

    by Aitana Written Jul 26, 2008

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    1 more image

    It is worth a long visit to see the church, the cloister and the museum.
    In the church there are several graves of famous people.
    The museum contains many masterpieces such as Cimabue's Cross.
    The cloister is a good place to have a rest or check the guide and deide the next place to visit.

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  • msbrandysue's Profile Photo

    Piazza Santa Croce

    by msbrandysue Written Jun 14, 2008

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    Cafe in Piazza
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    In front of Santa Croce is a wonderful Square (Piazza). It has many souvenirs at hand for any thing you could ever want. It is surrounded by many shops: specializing in leather and gold.

    It also has cafes around if you get hungry. Great place to spend the afternoon with ANYTHING you could want.

    It has a very welcoming, calm ambience. I think you'll like it a lot.

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    The Basilica di Santa Croce

    by eksvist Written Apr 27, 2008

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    The Basilica di Santa Croce
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    The Basilica di Santa Croce - Basilica of the Holy Cross is the principal Franciscan church in Florence, 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, Galileo, Machiavelli, Gentile and Rossini, thus it is known also as the Pantheon of the Italian Glories.

    Legend says that Santa Croce was founded by St Francis himself.

    In 1966, the Arno River flooded much of Florence, including Santa Croce. The water entered the church bringing mud, pollution and heating oil. The damage to buildings and art treasures was severe, taking several decades to repair.

    The Basilica became popular with Florentines as a place of worship and patronage and it became customary for greatly honoured Florentines to be buried or commemorated there.
    There are funerary monuments of Michelangelo Buonarroti, Gioacchino Rossini, Galileo Galilei, Niccolo Machiavelli, Dante (actually buried in Ravenna) and many others ...

    This basilica be impressed by ...

    Open Mon-Sat 9:30am-5:30pm; Sun 1-5:30pm
    Admission 4€

    Sorry about low quality of some photos ;)

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  • cpiers47's Profile Photo

    Santa Croce

    by cpiers47 Written Apr 14, 2008

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    The facade

    While the Galleria Palatina in Palazzo Pitti is my favorite gallery, Santa Croce is my favorite church. The frescos and tombs are fairly well-preserved and, again, you're often away from the crowds that frequent the Duomo. The paintings that line the walls of the north side of the church follow the life of Christ and are unique.

    Also, the neighborhood around Santa Croce is fantastic. Spend some time wandering.

    Admission was about 4 euros the last time I visited.

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  • elise_crash's Profile Photo

    Santa Croce

    by elise_crash Updated Jan 24, 2008

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    Santa Croce

    This is a beautiful little church that houses the tombs of some Italy's greats. Although not all of them are actually buried here, some of the monuments and tombs include those of Michelangelo, Dante Alighieri, Galileo, and Machiavelli.

    Unfortunately, it is no longer free to enter this church. And, I was quite disappointed on my last trip (Sept. 2005). There were TONS of people, and it was very noisy. They were also doing a lot of construction, so you couldn't even get to a lot it. Apparently, it is now more about the money and the tourism rather than the history and reverence.

    However, if you can visit during a time that doesn't seem to be very busy, I would definitely recommend it.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Religious Travel

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  • xiquinho's Profile Photo

    Santa Croce

    by xiquinho Written Jan 2, 2008

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    Begun in 1294, the Franciscan church of Santa Croce is a beautiful building in its own right, but is equally famous as the burial site of many of Florence's most notable citizens.

    The walls are adorned with monuments, and more than 276 tombstones line the aisles. Among the residents are Michelangelo, Galileo, Macchiavelli, and Rossini. Famous Florentine Dante also has a tomb here but his bones are yet to return from the exile imposed on the writer in life. The church also contains works by Giotto and della Robbia and is a sumptuous monument to the arts as well as religion.

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