We missed out Santa Croce church on our last Florence forray – I was determined not to this time. Son wasn’t overly keen on the idea, he’d had his fill of churches and quiet places but we compromised with the promise of (more) pizza and gelato afterwards. A done deal. The church was easy to find and most importantly no entrance line at all. We paid the 6 Euro fee and went straight in.
It is known for its frecoes (which are very impressive) but my fascination was with the dead people. Those buried here read like a roll call of Renaissance heroes. You can’t walk through the place without stepping on tons of tombstones and stopping to look at different marble monuments. Most of the names on these are instantly recognisable.
We found the tomb of Michelangelo – ornate and fancy, he picked this spot stating that on Judgement Day when the graves of the dead fly open, the first thing he would see through the open doors of the church would be the magnificent cathedral dome. Just opposite this was the tomb of Gallileo – he wasn’t granted a Christian burial until a hundred years after his death because he claimed the earth was not the centre of the universe.
Lots of interesting stories and anecdotes about every tombstone, even Son had to confess an interest and found himself drawn in. We located the tomb of Machiavelli and just across from that the tomb of Rossini. You could just go on and on here, it has to be seen to be believed.
Outside we did stroll a little around the cloisters – peaceful and serene but Son was not so we didn’t linger.
Not far from the church around the back of it is the leather school – definitely worth a visit. Free to enter through a gorgeous little courtyard it is a beautiful setting, an interesting place and you can pick up some nice quality leather souvenirs. We watched artisans at work, wandered amongst the smell of leather and loved it. You can buy some great hand-made pieces, Husband left with a made to measure leather belt complete with his initials. Son, not one to be left out where a gift shop is concerned selected his own Florence souvenir – a blue leather book mark. Happy with our purchases we left in search of that pizza and gelato.