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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Basilica of Santa Croce

The picture on my Italy calendar yesterday was the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence. I was in Florence on my one trip to Italy, but missed this .... all I really remember of Florence was our neat old-fashioned hotel with high ceilings, tiled walls, and a balcony overlooking a garden that had tiny dusk-flying bats :)

Here's a little of what Wikipedia says of the Basilica ....

- Michelangelo's tomb


The Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is the principal Franciscan church in Florence ..... It is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile, Rossini, and Marconi, thus it is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell'Itale Glorie).

The Basilica is the largest Franciscan church in the world. Its most notable features are its sixteen chapels, many of them decorated with frescoes by Giotto and his pupils, and its tombs and cenotaphs. Legend says that Santa Croce was founded by St Francis himself. The construction of the current church, to replace an older building, was begun on 12 May 1294 .....

In the Primo Chiostro, the main cloister, there is the Cappella dei Pazzi, built as the chapter house, completed in the 1470s. Filippo Brunelleschi (who had designed and executed the dome of the Duomo) was involved in its design which has remained rigorously simple and unadorned .....

- Galileo's tomb

A Jewish architect Niccolo Matas from Ancona, designed the church's 19th century neo-Gothic facade, working a prominent Star of David into the composition. Matas had wanted to be buried with his peers but because he was Jewish, he was buried under the porch and not within the walls.

In 1866, the complex became public property .... The Museo dell'Opera di Santa Croce is housed mainly in the refectory, also off the cloister. A monument to Florence Nightingale stands in the cloister, in the city in which she was born and after which she was named. Brunelleschi also built the inner cloister, completed in 1453 .....


- here's an almost scary photo of the interior (click to enlarge :) You can find more photos at this Wikipedia page.


Anonymous Marcus, Florence Italy said...

Florence is without a doubt my favorite city in Italy, although my wife won't be happy with me saying that - she's Roman.

Florence and the Medici were largely responsible for the Renaissance in Italy. If it wasn't for their interest in art, the Popes in Rome wouldn't have paid so much attention (not to be outdone) in Florence and subsequently competed with them to be Italy's 1st city.

Rome's Vatican museums, Sistine chapel and St Peters might have remained unimpressive if it weren't for the competition between Rome and Florence.


6:41 AM  
Blogger crystal said...


Thanks for the comment. And from Floarence! :) The interconnection of art and religion and politics in history is really interesting. I need to read more about the Renaissance.

12:16 PM  
Blogger victor said...

Thank you for sharing this with me and it reminded me of my sister Florence who was the seventh sibling in our family counting our red haired brother who died when he was about six months old.

You've probably heard about the seventh child being blessed with a gift of some kind, well as far as I'm concerned our sister Florence was blessed and silly me I still have not told her so. Do you think that I was jealous? Maybe I was because every body seem to want to be around her and if she was late for a visit you could see the disappointment in our children's eyes.

As you know I could go on and on but I better stop now and just wonder who's going to be the lucky cell of my kingdom who will get to visit this beautiful Florence in Italy during Eternity? :)

Thanks again Crystal for this trip down memory lane.

3:53 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Victor,

I'm glad that brought up such a happy memory :)

6:41 PM  

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