Florence – Santa Croce district

Florence – Santa Croce district

W 1966 r. the flood changed the character of the area around Santa Croce. Previously, it was one of the most densely populated districts in the city, tightly built-up with tenement houses and small workshops. When the Arno River broke its banks, Piazza Santa Croce, which is below the level of the area, and the surrounding streets have been devastated; many residents then moved out of here forever. Leather and jewelry stores can still be found here, but the souvenir stalls are more conspicuous.

Traditionally, public games were concentrated in the district. The Medici organized self-advertising festivities here, and during Savonarola's rule, the square was the main place of ceremonial execution of heretics. Sometimes the square is used as a playing field during the Gioco di Calcio Storico, something like a football tournament between the four quartiere of the city; matches are held in three turns during the midsummer week (last week of June) and are characterized by incomprehensible rules and the intensity of brutality, even heavy 16th-century costumes cannot protect against it. Advance sale of tickets at Chioso degli Sport and vi on via de'Anselmi - at the end of May there are not many of them left.

Church of Santa Croce

Construction of the Franciscan Church of Santa Croce (codz. 7.15-12.30 i 14.30-18.30) started in 1294 r., perhaps under the direction of the creator of the duomo, Arnolfa di Cambio. The construction was interrupted as a result of a split in the ranks of the Franciscans and was not started until the beginning of the 15th century., in the period, when Santa Croce gained its status as the burial place of outstanding citizens of Florence. The church floor is over 270 commemorative plaques, and the more sumptuous monuments are dedicated to people like Ghiberti, Michelangelo, Galileo, Macchiavelli and Dante - although the last of them is actually buried in Ravenna, where he died in exile. One of the tombstones (in the Salviati chapel) is dedicated to Zofia Czartoryska née Zamoyska.

Above one of the simpler and more meaningful tombs there is a wonderful relief of Antonio Rossellino, attached to the first pillar on the right: shows Francesco Nori, murdered with Giuliano de 'Medici by the Pazzi conspirators. Right next to it is a statue of Michelangelo made by Vasari, whose body was brought from Rome to Florence in July 1574, which was commemorated with a solemn memorial service in San Lorenzo. On the other side of the church is the tomb of Galileo, built in 1737 r., when it was finally decided to bury the great scientist in a Christian way. In the right side aisle, right behind the second altar, is Dante's neoclassical cenotaph, and on the third pillar there is a beautiful pulpit made by Benedetta da Maiano, carved with scenes from the life of St.. Francis. The side door at the end of this nave is flanked by the Annunciation to Donatello, a bas-relief of gilded stone, and the tombstone of the humanist Leonard Bruni, made by Bernard Rossellino and imitated many times later.

The chapels on the eastern end of Santa Croce are a compendium of 14th-century Florentine art, showing the scope of Giotto's influence and the great versatility of his followers. Castellani Chapel, from the west side of the right transept, was entirely covered with frescoes in the 1780s. by Agnolo Gaddi and his students, while the neighboring Cappella Baroncelli was decorated by father Agnola, Taddeo, who for a long time served as an assistant to Giotto himself. The Taddea series of frescoes includes the first nocturne in Western art, Annunciation to the Shepherds. The passage from the corridor along the Cappella Baroncelli opens onto the sacristy, where the most important work is the Crucifixion by Taddea; maleńka Chapel Rinuccini, separated from the sacristy by a lattice, it is covered with more solemn frescoes by Giovanni da Milano. The corridor ends at Cappella Medici, important because of the large terracotta altar of Andrea della Robbia; just like the corridor, the chapel was designed by Michelozzo, Favorite Medici architect.

Zarówno Peruzzi Chapel jak i Bardi Chapel (to the right of the presbytery) are completely covered with Giotto's frescoes. In the first one (further from the presbytery) scenes from the life of St.. John the Baptist and St.. John the Evangelist; in the latter, painted a little earlier and with the help of helpers, the life of St.. Francis. Agnolo Gaddi made all the frescoes around and above the main altar, as well as stained glass in ogival windows. Scenes from the life of St.. Sylwestra w Bardi Chapel in Vcrnio (fifth from the presbytery) were painted in the 1330s. by Masa di Banco, perhaps the most creative of Giotto's followers. Druga Cappella Bardi, on the left side of the presbytery, houses a wooden Donatello crucifix, reportedly criticized by Brunelleschi as resembling "the peasant on the cross".


Where one building can embody the spirit of the early Renaissance, it would be Brunelleschi's Cappella dei Pazzi at the end of Santa Croce's first courtyard (entrance to the chapel, to the courtyards and to the museum: summer Thu.-Tue. 10.00-12.30 i 14.30-18.30; winter 10.00-12.30 i 15.00-17.00; 2000 L). Designed in the 1930s, and completed in the seventies of the 15th century., many years after the architect's death, the chapel is characterized by unprecedented composition harmony and the integration of decorative details. The polychrome lining of the shallow dome of the portico was made by Luca della Robbia, similar to the tondo 5>v. Andrzej above the door; inside are blue and white tondas of the apostles, also painted by Robbia. Tondos of the Evangelists with vivid colors were made in his workshop, probably according to Dorjatell's designs. Spacious second courtyard, also designed by Brunelleschi, it is perhaps the most secluded place in the center of Florence.

Museum of the Opera of Santa Croce, entrance from the first courtyard, houses a variety of art collections, the best of which are collected in the refectory. Cimabue's crucifixion became a symbol of the flood damage in 1966 r., when a five-meter wave of water broke into the church, tearing the crucifix off its base and peeling off a lot of paint. In the same room are frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi, The Last Supper and the Crucifixion, fragments of Orcagni frescoes, which covered the nave of Santa Croce, before Vasari restored the church, and the giant gilded St.. Louis of Toulouse Donatella, made for Orsanmichele.

Buonarottii house

Buonarottii house (Wed-Mon. 9.30-13.30; 4000 L), north of Santa Croce on via Ghibellina 70, has an encouraging name, but a bit disappointing in its content, for there are few items directly related to this great artist. Michelangelo actually owned this house, but he never lived here. He handed it over to his nephew, the only descendant of the family, whose son turned part of the house into a gallery dedicated to his great-uncle. The most prominent place is paid tribute to Michelangelo, copies of his works and portraits of the master, while the most fascinating exhibits are housed in several rooms on the first floor.

The two largest treasures are in the first room to the left of the stairs: The Madonna at the Stairs is Michelangelo's earliest known work, carved at the age of sixteen or less, and a little later also arose the unfinished Battle of the Centaurs with the Lapiths, made, while the young man was living at the Medici court. In the adjoining room is a wooden model of the San Lorenzo facade, while the room in front of the stairs houses the largest of the sculptural models on display, the torso of a river god for the Medici chapel in San Lorenzo. On the right is a room containing a painted wooden crucifix, discovered in Santo Spirito c 1963 r.; it is widely believed today, that it is a sculpture by Michelangelo, the existence of which has long been known from documents, but declared missing.

In addition to the above, sometimes original architectural drawings and other sketches are also exhibited, while the ground floor is dedicated to exhibitions devoted to specific aspects of Michelangelo's career.

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