Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli’s tombs, Dante’s statue and Gold and Leather Shops
Piazza Santa Croce in Florence has the largest Franciscan church in the world, the tombs of famous Italians from Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli to Rossini, Fermi and Marconi, and gold and leather shops with tourists streaming in and out all day. Tony Page gives you a quick orientation around this popular Florentine square.
“Well, here we are in Santa Croce Square in Florence and here in camera is the star of the show – Dante Alighieri. He looks a little disconcerted, to say the least, because although he stands in front of the Basilica of Santa Croce where Michelangelo, Galileo, Nicollo Machievelli and a few others I can’t remember off-hand, are buried, he isn’t. His body is in Ravenna, chiefly because they threw him out of Florence for writing nasty things in his books and so when he died Ravenna refused to give them his body back, saying “you threw him out once so you’re not getting him back even though now that he’s famous and you’d like it”.
“Temple of the Italian Glories”
“But anyway there’s the church, go in, all the famous graves are there, Galileo is just there on the left as you walk in the main door. And don’t forget to go through to Brunelleschi’s Pazzi Chapel for the dome which is in fact next door. I find this one of the most attractive chapels. It was one of Michelangelo’s, I gather, favourite chapels, but who knows.
“Next to that, apart from all the tourists, is the Gold Market, gold shops, the Gold Corner – they bring all the tourists around here. This square, at Christmas time, has a nice Christmas market there actually – I was here the other Christmas.
The place to buy leather? Maybe not so much.
“I don’t know if you can see this, I’ll zoom in a bit as it’s very bright at the moment. Down here, you’ll find it familiar if you’ve been to Florence on a group tour because there’s the Peruzzi leather company, which you are inevitably brought to. I don’t find the standard of leather work, and certainly the shoes there, particularly good. You might like to look at the main street, I forget what it’s called (Ed: via Calzaiuoli), the shopping street near the Duomo where you can see some really good quality shoes.
Don’t miss Brunelleschi’s Pazzi Chapel
“Well, not much happening in this square, apart from the tourists. So, I’ll just zoom out, give you a last sweep and finish up on, really the only thing that’s of interest to come and visit here, which is the Santa Croce Church and Brunelleshci’s Pazzi Chapel (Capella de Pazzi) which is attached to it and you can go into the church and out at the far end on the right and exit that way. Don’t miss that, it really is worth it as some people just come straight out.”