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Santa Croce (Florence)


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Santa Croce is Florence's Franciscan Basilica and the most atmospheric of Florence's major churches.


The church and convent was originally established in 1220 in a poor area outside the city walls.  As the 1200s progressed the church became inside the new walls and surrounded by a more affluent population.  In 1294 the foundation stone for a new church designed by Arnolfo di Cambio was laid, and the great new church was completed 90 years later.  Although the basic shell of the church has remained the same, there have been many internal (chapel) reorganizations over the years, particularly after a disastrous fire in 1423 and then in the later 1500s as the counter reformation began to bite and in the later 1800s as money became available from the newly unified national government. 


Most of the great Florentine Renaissance Artists added to the glory of the church's furnishings, and it became the in place to be buried (unless you were a Dominican follower) - witness the large number of evocative sepulchral plates in the floor.






The west end of Santa Croce was unfacaded until 1857, when this facade was one of several projects funded in the enthusiastic times of the unification of Italy. 

Florence is not known for facades - except for Alberti's Santa Maria Novella one. 

Unlike many great Romanesque Gothic facades in other European Countries, those of Florence are non-structural wallpaper!




In June each year medievally dressed Florentinians march through the town on their way to a very rough

medieval footie free-for all in front of Santa Croce - this photo from the Daily Mail with thanks.






Santa Croce - October 2003 (before the scaffolding went up!)




Santa Croce - Main Altar - Giovanni del Biondo - Virgin and Saints




Donatello - Annunciation (Cavalcanti Chapel)




Donatello - Crucifixion




Giotto - The Coronation of the Virgin - Baroncelli Chapel







Tomb of Galileo Galilei 1564 - 1642 (78)



Tomb of Niccolò Machaivelli 1469 - 1527 (58)







Memorial to Dante Alighieri (later 1800s) - looks like a tomb but in fact our man spent the last years of his life in Ravenna, in exile from his home in Florence, and his real tomb is by the cloister gate of the Franciscan church in Ravenna.



One of the many sepulchral plates in the basilica floor.






Artists, Architects, Writers and Composers born between 1200 and 1600







Tomb of Michelangelo Buonarroti  1475 - 1564 (89)



Michelangelo's tomb in Santa Croce was designed by Giorgio Vasari.  G.B.Lorenzi did the Michelangelo bust, the right hand figure (representing Architecture) and the left hand figure (representing Painting).  The central figure is by V.Cioli and represents Sculpture.


In life Michalengelo used three rings (but not Borromean) as his "chop" to signify the linkage of Art, Sculpture and Architecture - Vasari made them into laurels on either side of the central bust on the tomb.




Part of a "Life of Jesus" cycle by Taddeo Gaddi covering the entire wall of the large Sacristy of Santa Croce.

Keep walking and you will come to the leather school, where in times past one could buy all things leather at very reasonable prices.






Brunelleschi's Capella Pazzi is regarded as one of his most noteworthy architectural achievements.  Also serving as the Convent's Chapter House, it's very vertical and thus not photographer friendly.  The corners of the roof are occupied by tondos containing the four evangelists' symbols in brilliantly coloured ceramics.


Both the Capella Pazzi and the main church contain lots of images by Giotto and others of the life of Saint Francis. 



Ceramic Evangelist signs in the Pazzi Chapel (Postcard Photo)




Santa Croce Refectory - Donatello, San Ludovico (St Louis of Toulouse) (bronze statue c1423, initially in Orsanmichele).




Santa Croce - Taddeo Gaddi's Tree of the Cross, Last Supper and other things in the huge old refectory.



Santa Croce - Taddeo Gaddi's Tree of the Cross, Last Supper and other things in the huge old refectory.






Santa Croce - the First Cloister




Santa Croce - the Second Cloister (Brunelleschi & Pupils)



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