In the beautiful Piazza Santa Croce in the center of Florence, there is one of the largest Franciscan basilicas, in the Florentine Gothic style, the Basilica of Santa Croce. The basilica was rebuilt on the remains of an old and simple church from the early days of the preaching of the Franciscan friars, who arrived in Florence with St. Francis himself. The facade, on the other hand, covered in polychrome Carrara marbles in white, green, and pink, was added in the mid-1800s by Nicolò Matas, who was inspired by the great Gothic cathedrals.
The Star of David inserted in the tympanum of the facade is interpreted as an allusion to the Jewish religion of the architect Matas. The bell tower is also from the 1800s. Inside, there are the tombs of great Italian cultural figures such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini, and Arnolfo di Cambio, the architect who redesigned it in 1294. There is also the cenotaph of Dante, but his real tomb is in Ravenna, where he died.
Facts & Trivia
In the square, there is a monument to Dante Alighieri sculpted by Enrico Pazzi in 1865 to celebrate his 600th anniversary. On the opposite side of the square, surrounded by noble palaces, there is a fountain. In the sacristy, there is a restored crucifix painted by Cimabue around 1272, 4.48 meters high. It was heavily damaged by the flood of 1965.
In this square, traditionally, the Florentine historic football or football in costume (herpastum in Latin) was played. Even today, matches are played in June in honor of the patron saint, St. John, in Piazza Santa Croce.