Santa Croce Church, Florence, Italy


Santa Croce

Santa Croce Church was built in the 14th century and is the largest Franciscan church in the world.  Decorated with centuries of precious art it holds the tombs of great Florentines. Don’t let the 8€ entry fee deter you; it will be the best money you spend that day! Plan to spend a few hours as there is so much to take in. This church has so many treasures, sculptures, paintings, tombs, and frescoes.

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The facade outside is 19th-century Victorian Gothic and faces a huge piazza lined with shops and restaurants.  It is a very pretty piazza where you can sit along the perimeter and watch the children play. Dante and his remains are inside the church (below)

A beautiful view of this very large piazza. During the holidays, you can find tents filled with vendors selling their goods here!

Once inside Santa Croce, stop and admire its sheer height and spaciousness. The wood ceiling with its painted detail is just beautiful!

Santa Croce Church,


On the left wall (as you face the altar) is the tomb of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), the Pisan who lived his last years under house arrest near Florence. Having defied the Church by saying that the earth revolved around the sun, his remains were only allowed in the church long after his death (below)

Tomb of Galileo, Santa Croce Church, Florence
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Directly opposite (on the right wall) is the tomb of Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) which is an amazing tribute done by Giorgio Vasari. (below)

Tomb of Michelangelo, Florence Italy



The frescoes in this church are amazing. They are everywhere you look and in very good condition. Here is a glimpse of some of the walls and ceiling.


 This video is incredible if you’ve never seen the flood!

Flood of 1966

In the hallway near the bookstore, notice the photos of the devastating flood of 1966. Inside the museum, they had a great video about the flood and how so many art pieces were lost. Here is just a little clip of that video.


The Beautiful Paintings

Also in this church are many amazing paintings. Here are just a few:


The Tombs on the Floor

Another eye-catching amazing sight in Santa Croce is all the tombs that are everywhere on the floor. Some are flat and people walk on them. Others that are raised, and probably pose a hazard, are roped off so you need to walk around them. Makes you wonder why they are placed where they are. Are the rich, like relatives of the Medici closer to the altar?


A Little Humor Too…

We don’t usually laugh in church but we just couldn’t help ourselves this time. If you have ever seen the movie “Letters to Juliet” from 2010, you know how they go looking for “Lorenzo Bartalini.” Well, we were walking down this hallway and Gary points to the statue, “Hey look, we found Lorenzo!” We laughed for about ten minutes!

Lorenzo Bartolini in Santa Croce

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Finally, The Crucifix

This crucifix or “Cimabue” in Santa Croce (1272 – Pisa – 1310) is the symbol of the flood from November 1966. It took ten years to restore the cross and return it to its original home. Having lost about 70% of its painted surface, it still stands as a testimony of those horrible days in 1966. It was hung high up in the Sacristy for added safety in 2013.

The crucifix Santa Croce
Santa Croce, Florence, Italy


  1. Simple stunning ! The architecture, the brilliance, the tomb, the spiritual experience in this place is got to be bliss !

  2. We spent a month in Florence this past Spring (2017). Our apartment was just around the corner. It is beautiful.

  3. The architecture looks really amazing, and those paintings are really beautiful. I am always love to checkout such beautiful architecture and study about its history, the information you provided really gives a great insight of it.

  4. I love Florence but I still haven’t managed to see Santa Croce without the huge crowds… and I go there at least 1-2 times each year! The inside is impressive tho, I just wish people could be more respectful!

    1. I understand your thoughts. We were there (on line) when it first opened. We like to do that so we ‘sort-of’ beat the crowds. It’s nice to have the place to yourself for a little while, anyway.

  5. Santa Croce was one of my favourite places to see in Florence, the facade is incredible and I really love all the marble and colours that adorns Florence’s main religious buildings. Beautiful!

  6. This church is simply stunning! I never had the opportunity to visit and now I am regretting it! I will definitely need to make sure it is at the top of my list for next time.

  7. This is such a beautiful church. I love the detailing right from the intricate ceiling to the walls. These sculptures speak so much of the place they reside in. Cheers!!

  8. The architecture is amazing! The art, the frescoes are so intricate. It is truly a grand place of worship. As if the town of florence is not beautiful enough, then they have this marvelous churches. Thanks for sharing your photos with us especially me who has never been there, but will soon be.

  9. Thank you for letting me know about this place. The entire post is very well written and I was particularly intrigued by the way 1966 floods have been documented. I guess it’s a reminder that we are mere mortals in front of Nature.

  10. This is absolutely beautiful. The post is very easy to follow and you provided some great tips for new travelers. This is the first Italian focused blog I have seen and it is fantastic. Great work!

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