On our visit to Florence last week we visited the huge Franciscan church of Santa Croce, a short walk to the east from the centre. Several famous Tuscans are buried here, including Michelangelo, Galileo and Dante.
Giotto and his followers decorated much of the church with frescoes that still survive today. The entrance fee is €6, we were on our way past the church so we paid up and went in.
I’m sure Piero della Francesca had a good look at the frescoes by Agnolo Gaddi behind the altar of Santa Croce when he lived in Florence. The frescoes depict the Story Of The True Cross, a theme also painted by Piero della Francesca in his famous frescoes in Arezzo. If you’ve seen both fresco cycles it’s interesting to see how quickly painting advanced in a hundred years.
The interior of Santa Croce is quite impressive, but, if you are seeing Florence on a budget I think you can get better value for your money elsewhere, we were walking back to our car and it made for a pleasant 30 minute stop before heading home. However, even if you have no intention of going inside I would still recommend a wander past Santa Croce to admire the facade and the piazza. Perhaps everyone visiting the city is now expected to buy a Florence Card for €72, this gives priority access to most museums for 72 hours after purchase but is not very practical for a day trip.