Friday, March 04, 2016

Florence Day 7: Santa Croce

When I heard Basilica di Santa Croce described as "Florence's version of Westminster Abbey," I knew it was a place I didn't want to miss. Our first glimpse was the striking facade, covered in multicolored marble.

photo: flickr/sidstamm
It was strange to see the ornate marble front contrasted with the plain stone covering the rest of the church behind:

Inside the main church, you see this view looking toward the main altar:

The main church holds six individual chapels, all covered in frescoes. Two of the most significant were painted by Giotto in the early 1300s, depicting the life of St. Francis of Assisi and St. John. Incredibly, someone whitewashed over these, and they were not rediscovered until the 1800s.

It gets to be overwhelming, the way every imaginable surface is covered in art. Even where there weren't actual paintings, many walls had patterns of colored marble:
The floor is covered in tombstones; you pretty much can't walk anywhere without stepping on one:
photo credit:
And then there are more ornate, prominent tombs for famous Italians like Michelangelo, Galileo, and Dante (who's not actually buried here; his is only a memorial marker):

After we left Santa Croce, it was time for our daily gelato stop, this time at Vivoli (I can highly recommend gianduia).

Giotto documented the life of St Francis (of nearby Assisi)and St John with emotional art that retold the stories of these significant saints. Remarkably, the works were whitewashed over and only rediscovered in the 19th century. Poor restoration attempts have lost much of the original lustre but they are still masterpieces to savour and enjoy. - See more at:

1 comment:

Danielle said...

Wow, the facade IS really beautiful!