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Visitor and background information for the basilica of Santa Croce, Florence.

This is tickitaly.com's information page for the church of Santa Croce in Florence, Tuscany - our ticket booking page is here.

The Basilica of Santa Croce is located in piazza Santa Croce, a short walk from piazza della Signoria, and is the largest Franciscan church in the world, reputedly founded by St Francis himself. Although lying little more than 800 metres from the cathedral (duomo), its site was originally outside the city walls - on marshland - and this low lying location saw the church badly damaged by the floods of 1966. The damage took decades to repair.

Construction of the current building is thought to have begun in the late thirteenth century, with the neo-Gothic facade and the campanile (bell-tower) being relatively recent additions - 1857 and 1842 respectively. The campanile replaced an earlier, lightning damaged, building.

The church is a treasure trove of Florentine art and is famous for the sixteen chapels, many of which have frescoes by Giotto and his pupils. The list of artists represented in the church is a very long one, but some heavy-hitters include Canova, Cimabue, the della Robbias, Donatello, Orcagna, Gaddi, Veneziana and Vasari.

Santa Croce is where Florence buried her great and good, and the basilica is the final resting place of Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli to name but a few. These illustrious names - with their equally illustrious tombs and cenotaphs - see the church also being known as the 'Temple of Italian Glories' (Tempio dell'Itale Glorie).

The church is huge, with a floor plan based on a Tau cross, the symbol of St Francis. The splendid cloister is, at least partially, attributed to Brunelleschi, author of the duomo, and remains adamantly simple and unadorned.

The Museo dell'Opera di Santa Croce (museum of works) is housed in the refectory that lies off the cloister. Said refectory, in the city of her birth, is home to a monument to Florence Nightingale.


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