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  4. Santa Croce

Santa Croce, Florence

Photo © Graeme Churchard. View all images in our Santa Croce Photo Gallery.
Photo © Adrian Fletcher.
Photo © Aaron Logan.
Photo © Graeme Churchard.
Photo © Graeme Churchard.
Photo © Miles Berry.
Photo © GFDL.
Photo © GFDL.
Photo © Adrian Fletcher.

The Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is the principal Franciscan church of Florence, Italy. Situated on the Piazza Santa Croce to the east of the Duomo, it is best known for its Florentine artwork and its tombs of illustrious dead, including Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli.


Legend has it that Santa Croce was founded by St Francis himself. The current church was probably begun in 1294, possibly by Arnolfo di Cambio, and paid for by some of the city's wealthiest families.

In 1439 the Council of Florence, which attempted to heal the schism between Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, was held at Santa Croce.

In 1560, the choir screen was removed and the interior rebuilt by Giorgio Vasari, who damaged the church's decoration in the process. The neo-Gothic facade only dates from 1857-1863 and the campanile was built in 1842.

What to See

Santa Croce is a vast church. Its most notable features are its 16 chapels, many of them decorated with frescoes by Giotto and his pupils, and its funerary monuments.

In the Primo Chiostro, the main cloister, is the Cappella dei Pazzi, built as the chapter house by Filippo Brunelleschi between 1442 and 1446 and finally completed in the 1470s.

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.

Artists whose work is present in the church include:

Tombs and monuments in Santa Croce include those to:

Quick Facts on the Santa Croce

Site Information
Names:Basilica di Santa Croce; Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence; Basilica of the Holy Cross
Faiths:Christianity; Catholic; Franciscan
Feat:Famous Grave
Styles:Gothic; Gothic Revival
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Florence, Italy
Coordinates:43.768429° N, 11.262783° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of the Santa Croce

Below is a location map and aerial view of the Santa Croce. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.


  1. Personal visit (May 5, 2008).
  2. Wikipedia

More Information

Article Info

Title:Santa Croce, Florence
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:01/17/2010
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/florence-santa-croce/florence-duomo">Santa Croce, Florence</a>