Florence has long been deemed the cradle of the Renaissance, a cultural trend mirrored by virtually all forms of art, architecture included. Indeed, the political historic trajectory of Florence has always been paralleled by the strong cultural identity of the city, and the fact that the Medici family – who has made their way through in politics and culture first of all in the capital of Tuscany – is chiefly and rightfully a symbol of the vivid cultural life of Florence is not without significance. Thus, the religious establishments the city is replete with substantiate first and foremost the rich cultural past of Florence, being, at the same time, the exquisite expression of the fortunate marriage between the religious field and the performances of secular art, bringing to a an unprecedented level – back then – the concept of religious or sacred art. It is true that the Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiori is the one to overtop, along with the Baptistery of St. John and the adjoining Campanile, both dimensionally and by significance, the entire architectural heritage of Florence. Yet, the city features some other 40 major religious edifices, of which the following yield but a taste of this overcrowded picture of churches, monasteries and cloisters, being, at the same time, deemed the most advisable from a tourist point of view.

Basilica di Santa Croce

Arnolfo di Cambio (the first architect to project the Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiori of Florence) is also, according to his biographer, Giorgio Vasari, the designer of the Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross). Santa Croce is the largest Franciscan church in the world, which is why there is no surprise for the visitor to ascertain a precise sobriety of the place so characteristic of the Franciscans. Its architectural and cultural significance aside, Santa Croce is widely and chiefly renowned due to the fact that plenty of reputed figures of Italy are buried here, such as Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Rossini, Galileo Galilei, Giovanni Gentile and Guglielmo Marconi. A sarcophagus of Dante can also be spotted in Santa Croce, but visitors should keep in mind it is empty. By force of these circumstances, the Basilica of Santa Croce is also referred to as the Temple of the Italian Glories. Giotto, Brunelleschi, Vasari, Gaddi and Donatello are the main artists who have shared in the completion and finishing of Santa Croce, their works being either displayed within the Museum of Santa Croce – hosted in the refectory of the monastery of Santa Croce – or spread in various areas of the establishment, including the adjoining cloister and the Pazzi Chapel. Overtopping the homonymous piazza, the construction of Santa Croce began in 1294, and at present it neighbors upon its campanile, yielding one of the chief tourist hotspots in Florence.

Basilica of Santa Croce
16 Piazza Santa Croce, Florence
Telephone number:
0039 (0)55 246 6105
0039 (0)55 246 6105