Famous Artists Buried in Santa Croce – Florence holiday
Any Florence holiday means days filled with culture. There is just so much to explore and churches are a big part of this after the Accademia and Uffizi Galleries. You will of course pay a visit to Santa Maria Novella Church, located near the train station; however, make sure to allow a few hours for Santa Croce Church.
Santa Croce Church is not far from the Uffizi Gallery, but even so I would recommend not attempting both on the same day.
The church is beautiful inside and out. When you arrive at the building after straining to look up to the roof, the next thing you notice is the statue of Dante impressively housed on the left side. You will not have to walk far to see permanent reminders of Dante in this city!
Entering the church I was immediately impressed with all the stained glass windows housed within the alcoves behind the alter. Everyone stops inside the entrance just to have time for the eyes to process the sheer detail in front of you. It really is magnificent.
The building is the largest of the Franciscan churches in the world, complete with sixteen chapels decorated by Giotto and his students, who were responsible for many of the stunning frescoes you will view.
Regrettably the church was damaged when the River Arno burst its banks in 1966; the rising water levels deposited mud and pollution. The result was several decades of repairs after the building and some of the art was severely damaged.
One of the main delights in the church however, has to be its statues and tombs. Many local artists have been buried here including Michelangelo (whose tomb was designed by Giorgio Vasari), Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile and Rossini. Their tombs are each as detailed as one of their own masterpieces. There is also a monument to Florence Nightingale, which stands in the cloister; celebrating her life in the city she was born. Some of the incredible monuments that decorate the church include Dante who was buried in Ravenna after his exile from the city, Galileo, Ghiberti, Machiavelli and Rossini.
As well as the main church itself, there is also an extended covered walkway in the garden where further tombs are commemorated, the peaceful garden itself and The School of Leather (La Scoula del Cuoio). The last of which is where the highly talented designers create leather goods using some of the finest leather in the world. These are more expensive products, however, you can purchase purses, wallets, handbags, bookmarks, book covers and keyrings which can be monogramed with your own initials (for an additional fee). I definitely recommend this, as it’s perfect for treating yourself as a lovely memory of your Florence holiday, or as a gift for a family member. I bought a beautiful black purse with scarlet lining, which I love but would never find in the shops in the UK. The quality is amazing.
Make sure you do not finish your Florence holiday, before you have really spent some time visiting this beautiful, scenic church.