Basilica of Santa Croce is the church of the Franciscans in Florence.

Situated on the Piazza di Santa Croce, it is the burial place of some of the greatest Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Gentile and many more, thus known as the Temple of the Italian Glories.

The History of the Basilica of Santa Croce

The Church was designed Arnolfo di Cambio in 1294. However, it took many years to complete, not finishing until 1442. and was finished in 1442. The original structure’s foundations date back to 1212 when St. Francis of Assisi settled in Florence and choice this land to set up shop. Back then, the region was just outside the city walls but began apart of the central city in later years.

Bell Tower

Located to the right of the church, this towel stretches up almost 80 metres tall. The original bell tower collapsed in 1512 and was positioned above the apse of the Church. Leading to Francesco da Sangallo to designed and create a new one. However, this plan was set on hold due to lack of funds, with the construction of the new bell tower only being complete in the 1800s.

The Crypt

This attraction was lost for many years, only being rediscovered after the flood in 1844. After the discovery, it was used as a storage space and a war memorial until 1930. It was only until 1934 when the site was transformed into a shrine by the designer Alfredo Lensi.

The Chapels

There is a total of sixteen family chapels scattered about the Santa Croce Basilica. Each chapel is significant and stunning, with each chapel representing a powerful historic family. As the church was considered the largest Franciscan church in the world, only the powerful families were given the chance to build their chapel, decorated in their honour. Many of these families used these chapels to appease the church after continually committing sins, such as adultery and gluttony.

The Art

Even if you take a short stroll through the building, the art depicted here is sure to leave you inspired. The collection of artwork honours Florence’s skills and beliefs, with brilliant frescos covering the walls and ceilings, and marble statues nestled on tombs and window tops.

The Tombs and Cenotaph

Not to be forgotten it the various tombs within the church, home to some of Italy’s greatest achievers. Being the final resting place for a range of artists, poets, philosophers, and politicians that made history with their masterpieces created over their lifetime. The tombs are decorated beautifully, with some depicting marble statues that are seen mourning, representing the fans of the individual, or angels or god bringing them to their afterlife.

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