Friday, January 12, 2007

The Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence

Basilica of Santa Croce - present day

Basilica of Santa Croce and square - 1688
The lithograph image shows a game of Fiorentine football
Note.- In the house at Number 5 of the piazza was born Maffeo Barberini, the future Urban VIII, who in 1633 condemned Galileo Galilei,and who is now buried in the Basilica.
High Altar High Altar
Giotto di Bondone (1266-1337)
Death of St Francis
Fresco, Cappella Bardi, Santa Croce
Crucifix above High Altar Nave Nave Cimabue
Santa Croce museum
Tomb of Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (March 6, 1475 – February 18, 1564), commonly known as Michelangelo, Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer.Tomb of Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642), Italian physicist, astronomer, and philosopherTomb of Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (May 3, 1469 – June 21, 1527), political philosopher, musician, poet, and romantic comedic playwright.Tomb by Alberti of Leonardo Bruni (c.1370 – 1444), leading humanist, historian and a chancellor of Florence.Tomb of Gioacchino Antonio Rossini (February 29, 1792 – November 13, 1868), Italian musical composer

In the Paradiso, Dante described the Franciscan and Dominican orders as the two great wheels on which the church of his day relied on in its journey. Without one, no journey was possible.

The Dominican is seen as the moral and intellectual guide to the corporate church. The Franciscan is the charismatic personality appealing to individual emotions.

In the Florence of Dante`s day and beyond, allegiance was broadly divided between the Franciscans and the Dominicans. They were the two main religious authorities in the city. The Dominicans had San Marco and the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. The Franciscans were based at Santa Croce.

St Francis visited Florence in 1209. Shortly after his death, some of his followers came to Florence and erected a Church called Santa Croce in 1228. This was at Porto san Gallo.

In response to the Dominican decision to build the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, the Franciscans erected a Church on the present site of Santa Croce in 1294/5.

The current church begun in 1294, possibly by Arnolfo di Cambio, was paid for by some of the city's wealthiest families. It was consecrated in 1442 by Pope Eugene IV.

The vast structure 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 funerary monuments. In 1560, the choir screen was removed and the interior rebuilt by Giorgio Vasari, who damaged the church's decoration in the process. The decoration carried out to comply with the directives of the Council of Trent.

The neo-Gothic facade, by Nicolò Matas, only dates from 1857-1863. The campanile was built in 1842.

It welcomed in many outstanding figures in the history of the church, such as Saint Bonaventure, Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint Bernardine of Siena and Saint Louis of Anjou, Bishop of Toulouse.

Over the centuries it also received many Popes, including Eugenius IV, Sixtus IV, Leo X and Clement XIV

The interior houses works by Cimabue, Giotto, Maso di Banco, Giovanni da Milano, Brunelleschi, Michelozzo, Donatello, Domenico Veneziano, Della Robbia, Benedetto da Maiano, Giuliano da San Gallo, Bronzino, Vasari, Canova and others.

Santa Croce has been called “the Pantheon of Italian glories” since it houses the tombs of numerous illustrious figures, including Ghiberti, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Galileo, Alfieri, Foscolo and Rossini.


Opera di Santa Croce (official web site)

The Church in Florence

Catholic Diocese of Florence (Official Website )

Ars et Fides Firenze (Official Guides)

Florence Art Guide:Basilica of Santa Croce