Firenze, Italy




Friday, Santa Croce and the Pazzi Chapel

From the orphanage we walked down to the Piazza di Santa Croce and the Basilica di Santa Croce, the Basilica of the Holy Cross. It is the principal Franciscan church in Florence, the largest Franciscan church in the world, and is a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church. Legend says that Santa Croce was founded by St Francis himself.

The facade was designed in the 19th century by the Jewish architect Niccolo Matas from Ancona which is why there is a Star of David at the top.

It is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Donatello, Galileo, Machiavelli, Rossini, Marconi and Fermi. Thus it is known also as Tempio dell'Itale Glorie or Pantheon dell'Itale Glorie (the Pantheon of the Italian Glories.)

Firenze - Santa Croce Basilica di Santa Croce


Firenze - Santa Croce A lamp post
Firenze - Santa Croce A sculpture of Dante Alghieri next to the church


Firenze - Santa Croce

We bought some food at a store nearby and had a little impromptu lunch on the porch of the basilica, looking out over the Piazza di Santa Croce



Firenze - Santa Croce The tomb of Galileo
Firenze - Santa Croce A statue which was the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty


After Galileo's death in Arcetri in 1642, his remains were deposited in a small room adjoining a chapel in the basilica of Santa Croce. There was a lot of hostility to the idea of building a monument to a man condemned by the Church for vehement suspicion of heresy. Only in 1737 did circumstances permit the inauguration of the monumental tomb of Galileo.

Firenze - Santa Croce The cenotaph to Dante Alighieri

A cenotaph is a sepulchral monument erected in memory of a deceased person whose body is buried elsewhere

Firenze - Santa Croce The tomb of Michelangelo

Designed by Giorgio Vasari with sculptures representing Sculpture, Painting and Architecture. The bust of Michelangelo is by Battista Lorenzi



Firenze - Santa Croce Detail of the tomb of Michelangelo


Firenze - Santa Croce The tomb of Machiavelli
Firenze - Santa Croce

An Annuncuiation Tabernacle by Donatello, 1428-1433. Sandstone with residual gilt and polychromy, and terra cotta putti at the top.



Firenze - Santa Croce

The Crucifix of Santa Croce by Cimabue was the major work of art lost in the flood in Florence in 1966. Much of the paint from the body and face washed away.

Firenze - Santa Croce A crucifix by Donatello


Firenze - Santa Croce

Postcard with a photo of the crucifix by Donatello



Because I could not get to a vantage point where I could get a good photo of the crucifix by Donatello, I bought a postcard with a photo of it.



The Pazzi Chapel

In the first cloister of the Basilica di Santa Croce is the Pazzi Chapel (Cappella dei Pazzi,) considered to be a masterpiece of renaissance architecture. It was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi based on simple geometrical forms, the square and the circle. In renaissance architecture there was a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman design. The Renaissance style places emphasis on symmetry, proportion, geometry and the regularity of parts as they are demonstrated in the architecture of classical antiquity and in particular ancient Roman architecture.

One of Brunelleschi's contributions to the profession of the architect is due to his discovery of perspective. With this the architect could put his design on paper instead of having to build a model for the builder to follow in constructing the building. This frees up the architect to give a design to a builder to execute and not have to oversee the entire building process. This is evident in the building of the orphanage in Pistoia. During the building he was called to Pistioa from time to time to answer questions about the specifics of a particular piece of the construction but did not have to oversee the entire construction.

This appears to be the case with the Pazzi Chapel as well. At one time, it was considered to have been built by Brunelleschi, but now it seems that he was responsible for the design but the chapel was probably built by either Giuliano da Maiano or Michelozzo.

Firenze - Santa Croce The first cloister of the Basilica di Santa Croce and the Pazzi Chapel


Firenze - Santa Croce The vault over the door of the Pazzi Chapel


Firenze - Santa Croce The loggia of the Pazzi Chapel
Firenze - Santa Croce Inside the Pazzi Chapel


Firenze - Santa Croce Inside the dome of the Pazzi Chapel


Firenze - Santa Croce
Firenze - Santa Croce


Firenze - Santa Croce Brunelleschi was probably not responsible for the decoration of the chapel


Firenze - Santa Croce Looking out into the first cloister (Primo Chiostro) from the porch of the Pazzi Chapel


Firenze - Santa Croce This is the inner cloister which was built by Brunelleschi and was completed in 1453


Firenze - Santa Croce The the inner cloister


Firenze - Santa Croce The loggia of the inner cloister
Firenze - Santa Croce The Pazzi Chapel


Firenze - Santa Croce The Pazzi Chapel


Below are move views of the Basilica di Santa Croce.

Firenze - Santa Croce
Firenze - Santa Croce


Firenze - Santa Croce











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Contents © Copyright 2001 Author: Lee Briggs except where noted. All rights reserved.