The tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, and Dante (tomb only, his remains are in Ravenna) are among the names you’ll recognize in this jaw-slackening church, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio starting in 1294, though work of the initial church continued through 1385. The church’s marble front facade was was added in the 19th century.
This is the largest Franciscan church in the world, containing 16 chapels, many of which were decorated with frescoes by Giotto di Bondone and his students. Some of the frescoes have aged better than others. Brunelleschi designed the cloister. His Cappella de’Pazzi is enriched by terracotta medallions done by Luca della Robbia. It’s located at the end of the first cloister.
Legend has it that French writer Stendhal almost succumbed to faint upon first seeing Santa Croce.
In 1966, the swelling Arno River flooded Santa Croce with water, mud, pollution and heating oil. Damage to buildings and art treasures took several decades to repair.
The Museo dell’Opera di Santa Croce is adjacent.