It is the most famous Church of Florence. It was celebrated by Foscolo in the “Sepolcri” and became the symbol of the city in 1966 when the Crucifix by Cimabue was most severely damaged by the flood of 1966. The Church is in Piazza Santa Croce the widest square of the city, where citizens played Calcio in Costume. Till 1000 in this place there was a little isle on the river Arno, with a little Church where prayed San Francesco. Only at the end of 13th century the running of Arno was changed after the decision of enlarged Florentine walls. This building, traditionally said to have been built by Arnolfo di Cambio, was begun in 1294. It was completed around 1320. The Church was consacrated in 1442 and a century later Vasari made considerable alteration.
It is one of the most beautiful Church of Italy: the façade was decorated in green marble and marble of Carrara. A rich english nobleman financed its buildung in 1857. The bell tower was built in 19th century it has sober colours, it is high and slender to the sky so that one is able to recognize it from very far. The interior follows the same T-plan layout found in many large convent Churches, with three aisles, a long transept and a polygonal apse. The Church contains tombs of some of the greatest italian artists: Michelangelo, Alfieri, Leonardo Bruni, Rosselini, Foscolo and a monument dedicated to Niccolò Machiavelli. In the right arm of the transept is the large Cappella Castellani, a Chapel with a series of frescoes by Agnolo Gaddi, the handsom Tabernacolo is by Mino da Fiesole, while the painted Cross is by Niccolò Gerini. At the end of the corridor of the Sacristy, you enter the Cappella Medici. In the apse there are some Chapels located around the main Chapel, the frescoes are by Agnolo Gaddi. In the Cappella Bardi above the altar stands a wooden Crucifix by Donatello. On the left side of the Church there are the tombs of Cherubini, Leon Battista Alberti and Galileo Galilei.
Cappella Pazzi is a perfect examle of Renaissance architecture. It was planned by Brunelleschi, it is crossed by six Corinthian pilaster and an arch. It is surmounted by a dome. In the barrel vault of the portico there is a small cupola eith tondoes and rosettes made of glazed terracotta, by Luca della Robbia and sculputers of four Evangelists by Brunelleschi. After you return to the Cloister, you will enter the former 14th-c. refectory which contains Cimabue’s Crucifix. You will then return to the first Cloister, and through a handsome portal by Benedeto da Maiano you will enter the elegant second cloister, where there was the Noviziato by Michelozzo. There were a dormitory and a refectory that containes one of the rarest Cenacoli by Giotto. In the years of Inquisition it became a court where heretics were condemned.