Florentine History Lesson – Santa Croce
The Santa Croce, or Basilica de Santa Croce, is another one of those places in Florence that is steeped in history. A church which story goes all the way back to the 13th century. Yes, the 13th century – beginning with the order the Franciscans.
Before the death of St Francis in 1226, the Franciscans were already seen around Florence – a religious group with a focus on poverty that hung around just outside the city walls. In 1295 the group split and agreed build a new church with what money they had gained. Arnolfo di Cambio began working on the design, and by 1320 the church had been finished. This church is the Santa Croce.
The Santa Croce now contains the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and monuments dedicated to figures such as Dante and Florence Nightingale. Inside the church it is extremely vast with lots of space. There are 16 frescoed chapels, courtesy of Giotto. The main chapter house built by Filippo Brunelleschi between 1442 and 1446 was completed in 1470. This part is called the Cappella dei Pazzi, and is an equally wonderful place to check out inside the church.
Other artist’s work that you can expect to find inside are: three pieces by Donatello on the south wall – the Annunciation, and the St Louis of Toulouse in the refectory, and Giorgi Vasari with two pieces: Michelangelo’s tomb and his Way to Calvary.
You can find the Santa Croce to the east of the Duomo at the Piazza Santa Croce.