Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is a beautiful Franciscan church situated in Piazza di Santa Croce, in Florence. Here, Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the greatest sculptors of all time, is buried.
It is said that, in the year 1211, Saint Francis arrived in Florence. In a little island created by the Arno River, there was a chapel dedicated to the Holy Cross which would be donated to Saint Francis and from which the present church would take the name.
The construction of the church started in 1294, after a project elaborated probably by Arnolfo di Cambio, one of the most important architects of that time. Over time, many great artists worked here, such as Giotto, Taddeo and Agnolo Gaddi, Maso di Banco, Giovanni da Milano, Brunelleschi and Michelozzo.
Due to floods and epidemics, the basilica was finished at the end of the 14th century and was consecrated in 1442 by Pope Eugenio IV. With many difficulties, the last works were done until 1504, but then the funding came to an end and the church remained without a façade.
The current façade was built in neo-gothic style between 1853 and 1863 by the architect Niccolò Matas, who was inspired by the great Gothic cathedrals of Siena and Orvieto.
In 1966, the Florence flood inflicted serious damage to the complex of the basilica and the convent, located in the lower part of Florence.
Besides Michelangelo, in the church were buried many famous italians, including the scientist Galileo Galilei, the politician and philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli, the writer Vittorio Alfieri, the poet Ugo Foscolo and the composer Gioachino Rossini. That is why Basilica di Santa Croce is known as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell’Itale Glorie).
The interior of the church is apparently simple and highly monumental at the same time, with three naves divided by two rows of large pillars with an octagonal base.
HOW TO GET THERE
The nearest bus station is Magliabechi, on Line C3, only 70 meters away from the church. For the right direction, you can use the map below.