Santa Croce is one of the oldest Franciscan basilicas and, in terms of its dimensions, also one of the most magnificent. Adjacent to the church is the convent complex with its two cloisters, the novices' quarters, the Chapter Room, better known as the Pazzi Chapel, and the refectory, which is now the premises of the Museum and houses famous works originating from the church and the cloisters.
Built in 1294, to a design by the great architect Arnolfo di Cambio, the Basilica has lived through seven centuries of history, augmenting its artistic heritage as a result of exceptional contributions, to the point of becoming one of the best-loved and most visited sites in Florence.
Everything in the church is of the very highest quality: the frescoes executed through the contributions of Giotto, Maso di Banco, Taddeo Gaddi, Giovanni da Milano and Agnolo Gaddi; the monumental crosses and the polyptychs, the splendid fourteenth-century windows; the Renaissance architecture created by Michelozzo and Brunelleschi; the fifteenth-century sculptural works, tombs, altars and pulpits by the greatest Florentine masters, including Donatello, Antonio and Bernardo Rossellino, Desiderio da Settignano and Benedetto da Maiano.
Later, in the second half of the sixteenth century, Santa Croce was involved in an architectural and iconographic programme inspired by the principles of the Counter-Reformation, involving the erection of large altars embellished with paintings by the greatest Tuscan artists of the time.
However, it was with the construction of the tomb of Michelangelo that the Basilica confirmed its vocation to house the urns of the great and to become the Pantheon of Italian glories.
In the course of the nineteenth century, alongside the sepulchres celebrated by Ugo Foscolo, private tombs inspired by a romantic mourning for lost affections also found their place in the Basilica, and above all in the cloister.
In the nineteenth century the facade and the campanile were built, and the monument to Dante Alighieri was set up in the square.
The square of Santa Croce is also a centre of civic life, emblematic in the history and urban layout of Florence; it continues to be the site of public events and historic re-enactments, such as the football in costume.
Over the centuries, the Basilica and the adjacent convent have witnessed the evolution of the religious life of the Franciscan community, from its very origins when the fervour of devotion to the 'Poor Man' of Assisi favoured the development of a major centre of religion and study, right up to the time of the Suppressions, when the complex became public property (1866).
Piazza Santa Croce, 16 - Firenze
Entry: 5,00 euros
Reduced: 3,00 euros (young people aged 11-18; groups of more than 15)
Free entrance: children under 11; authorised tour guides; authorised tourist escorts wearing badges; the disabled and their escorts (one escort per disabled person); residents of the province of Florence with valid identity document
The tickets can be purchased only at the ticket office of the Opera, in the loggia on Largo Bargellini (Via S. Giuseppe side).
Holidays and Sundays: 13:00-17:30
Closed: New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Feast of St. Anthony (13 June) Feast of St. Francis (4 October), Christmas Day and Boxing Day
For further informations:
Tel: +39 0552466105