Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence

Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence (must see)

One of the most famous and the largest Franciscan churches in the world, Basilica di Santa Croce was built between the 13th and 14th century, flaunting a rich Gothic style of architecture. Also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories, it has the final resting places of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, the poet Foscolo and the composer Rossini.

Elaborate sculptures decorate the tombs while paintings adorn the altar and walls. Some of the finest artisans, sculptors and painters have left their marks upon the church, which is sure to grip visitors with its grandeur and presence. Artists with work in the church include Giotto, Donatello, Giorgio Vasari, Domenico Veneziano, Antonio Canova, Cimabue, Benedetto da Maiano, Andrea and Luca della Robbia, Desiderio da Settignano, Giovanni da Milano, Maso di Banco, Agnolo and Taddeo Gaddi, Andrea Orcagna, Antonio Rossellino, Santi di Tito, and Henry Moore. Legend even has it that the Santa Croce was founded by Saint Francis himself!

The grounds are quite nice as well, and the grassy inner courtyard, with its columns and statuary, encourages to take time to explore – or spend all day here with a sketchbook! The outside plaza holds multiple events, from concerts by visiting musicians to Florentine "rugby".

***MICHELANGELO'S MASTERPIECES***
Directly against Michelangelo's plans, his dead body was taken from Rome to Florence where Cosimo de' Medici and the artist/biographer Vasari arranged a lavish funeral on March 10, 1564. Since he was not able to employ the artist and honor him in Florence during his life, declared de' Medici, he would honor him in death, and with a proper tomb to match.

The monumental tomb inside the church – which ended up costing a massive sum and took 14 years to complete, due to delays – was commissioned to the same Vasari, who included traditional symbols and imagery relevant to Michelangelo. Next to the artist's bust, there are three intertwined laurel wreaths representing the union of the artistic domains of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, which are also depicted below as three muses mourning the loss of the great artist.

***DANTE'S FLORENCE WALK***
Dante's empty sarcophagus was installed here after Florence spent a lot of years trying to get his remains back to the city of his birth. Rejected when he was alive, Dante now rests in his adopted city of Ravenna, despite Florence's posthumous forgiveness and acceptance of the exiled poet. A monument of Dante – erected in 1865 to celebrate the 600 year anniversary of his birth – stands outside in Piazza Santa Croce, named after the basilica that overlooks it.

Tip:
Don't miss the Leather school behind the church where young interns are learning the trade and where you can buy some fantastic handmade one-offs.
Please remember that shorts have to be below knee and women must have shoulders covered and no midsection exposed. They enforce the shorts rule on the women more than the men.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9:30am-5:30pm; Sun: 2-5:30pm; Last admission: 5pm

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Florence, Italy within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Basilica di Santa Croce on Map

Sight Name: Basilica di Santa Croce
Sight Location: Florence, Italy
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Florence, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

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Creating your own self-guided walk in Florence is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Medici Landmarks

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Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante Alighieri was arguably the greatest – albeit also most controversial – of Italy's poets. After having served as one of the six priors governing Florence, his political activities, including the banishing of several rivals, led to his own banishment, upon which he wrote his masterpiece, “The Divine Comedy”, as a virtual wanderer, seeking protection for his family in one town...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Duomo Walking Tour

Duomo Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Florence Local Food Walk

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Florence Palaces Walk

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Towards the end of the 13th century, Florentine families who had acquired power – both financial, through banking and trade, and political – began to build sizeable new palaces for themselves. The construction of the Palazzo del Popolo (now housing the Bargello museum) acted as an important catalyst in this process, having opened the translation into the private sphere. Early 14th century...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Historic Centre Nightlife

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Well known for its beautiful historic architecture and for its huge contribution to the Renaissance movement in Italy, Florence remains a vibrant, thriving center of activity that hosts not only a large tourism trade, but also attracts a lot of international students studying abroad. As such, Florence possesses a hot nightlife scene where guests from around the world can hear some amazing music...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles

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