|The Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence|
Some background: as most of you will know, the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence is the largest Franciscan church in the world and one of the principal sights of Florence. The church as we see it today was consecrated in 1442 and its most notable feature is its sixteen chapels, many of them decorated with frescoes by Giotto and his pupils. Slightly less famous but equally beautiful is a huge cycle of frescoes above the main altar, The Legend of the True Cross, painted by Agnolo Gaddi in the late 14th century and based on the famous Golden Legend written by the Franciscan monk, Jacopo da Varagine. The expressiveness of Gaddi's figures and the drama of their interactions reveals his debt to Giotto, but the colours and eccentric details are all his own. (Incidentally, these frescoes were one of the inspirations for the cycle on the same subject by Piero della Francesca, painted in Arezzo in the middle of the 15th century.)
|Part of The Legend of the True Cross, painted by Agnolo Gaddi|
|Agnolo Gaddi's frescoes in the Basilica of Santa Croce|
The guided tour takes place from Monday through Saturday at 11 am and 3 pm and on Sunday at 3 pm, in either English or Italian. The price is €10 and includes the ticket to visit all of Santa Croce - the church, the Pazzi chapel and the museum. (The ticket for just the church and museum would cost you €6.)
Bookings are required and should be made by email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The tour lasts about an hour. The climb up the scaffolding is 90 steps, about 7 floors, with pauses from time to time for the guide to explain the subjects depicted as well as the techniques used to create the frescoes and in the restoration process.
For a quick lunch just 50 m away from Santa Croce, try Finisterrae, Piazza Santa Croce 12.
Fulvio Di Rosa
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